Global Missions Weekend

Each year, our church spends a weekend focusing on Global Missions, with special speakers, extra events, and (usually) a concert of prayer as a finale. It was deeply irritating to Joshua that he would be out of town for this year’s missions event. Ever since his trip to Niger in January 2010, our oldest son has been interested in missions in general, and in Africa in particular.

Jon and Christine hope to return to Niger this summer.

“I’ll just tell the folks at church that you don’t care about missions,” I told him, consolingly.

“Thanks, Dad — nice to know you’ve got my back,” Joshua responded. It is these little moments of father-son bonding that make me so successful as a Dad.

This year, there was a missions speaker for the men’s breakfast on Saturday, and for all three services. Then there was a missions dinner celebrating the imminent sendoff of three families from our church — one to a rural church-plant project, another to a hospital in Ethiopia, and a third to Niger.

The Ayers family will be working at the Soddo hospital in Ethiopia

Whenever we have missions speakers, I tend to get charged-up about being a missionary myself. When I was a little boy, I wanted to be a missionary, and (even now) I still feel the pull of it.

After the sermon by Ralph Sauers (who was very enthusiastic), two of my kids were talking about going on a short-term missions trip. It is encouraging to see my teenagers catching the vision of God’s love for the world.

Carl and Drea will be serving with Village Missions in the rural village of Vesta, Washington.

Last year I started the online application for Wycliffe Bible Translators, but I soon became fearful, and never finished the application process. I was supposed to meet with the area IT recruiter for Wycliffe, but I never made it a priority. I find there are a couple of things that hold me back from being willing to take active steps:

  • I feel inadequate.
  • It has been said that if you’re not being a missionary where you are, then why would you expect to be any more effective when hampered by cultural and language barriers? My gifts lie in teaching and generosity, and (apart from my work in AWANA) there is very little of the evangelist about me. Also, I am in my mid forties, and I’m at least 40 pounds overweight. What if I couldn’t survive in a field mission environment, because the physical conditions were too difficult for me?

  • I fear discomfort.
  • As an American with a well-paying job, I’m used to a fair bit of comfort. I like having hot showers and cold Diet Cokes. What if God’s calling comes without some of the comforts I’ve come to expect from life? What if I have to scrimp and save just to keep my children in clothing, like many missionaries do?

  • I’m suspicious that my yearning for missions work is a thinly-disguised, Christian version of a mid-life crisis.
  • Maybe God has called me simply to be faithful in the work He has already given me — the work of being a disciple of Jesus, a husband, a father, an elder, an AWANA director, a Sunday School teacher, a friend?

I would love to hear a reaction to this, from any of you who read this blog posting. Do you think I’m deluding myself, building up a romantic picture of missions work in my mind, out of boredom? Or could this be a legitimate calling of God?


Carl’s Blog
Ralph Sauer’s website
Soddo Hospital, Ethiopia
Serving In Mission

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11 thoughts on “Global Missions Weekend”

  1. No one knows the true state of your heart but the Holy Spirit, so I’m with Aunt Kate – keep praying. And you and Kathy pray together about it. My own pursuit of going “to the mission field” failed when I met a guy. But lest I blame him, it was much of the same fear you mentioned, but with 20-something perspective: I couldn’t cut it, I might be an old maid, I really don’t like eating “strange” food, I might never marry, I like physical comfort, I might never meet Mr. Right… you see the theme. So I’d say from my position of exaltedness, Keep praying, and go be faithful here & now, and see what happens. Short term trips might be a good idea, too, like wise ol’ 11-year old David said!

  2. I LOVE this! We’ll be praying with you all on what it might mean for your family. It’s thrilling to hear how God is working in your life.

    And, of course, I have to say this…..Village Missions has lots of open fields!!! :)

  3. WOW! This post struck a cord in my heart because I remember praying with you and Kathy in college…about the potential for you to pursue missions. I know your hearts for the Lord…and I love watching how He has blessed your “mission” stateside…to raise a godly family, obey Him, pursue financial peace in a country that glorify’s consumerism…and be involved in the ministry at your church. And I’m really familiar with the “mid life crisis” you speak of here…having lived that story fairly recently. Bottom line? Obedience to what God calls us to do can’t be reasoned away. Scary? Yes! Out of our comfort zone? Absolutely! And to the watching world who witness men and women obeying God in radical ways…I think it is a powerful evangelism in it’s own way. When Bill (and I) walked away from the family business, to pursue seminary and eventually ordination…every non-Christian friend we had questioned us (our Christian friends did too!). It wasn’t OUR timetable that made sense…and there were lots of “good” reasons not to do it…but God has blessed us abundantly.
    SO…I’ll step down off of my soap box now…and pray for you and Kathy to hear God clearly and be of one mind! I’m encouraged by your humility in approaching God with the question ” are you sending me?”. That in itself is precious!!! Peace to the Edgren’s!

  4. My favortie line from a movie is from Facing the Giants, “prepare for rain”. I say get ready and follow the Lord. Lose the 40 pounds (which I think you are…or you are taking great pictures?), finish your application process, get out of debt (if you have any), hold things of this world loosely, pray, pray, pray. From our view point, you are fruitful in your current mission field, we have reaped great blessings (temporary and eternal) from you and your family. And yes, as David said, GO! (short term family mission? you could lead the LCCC group!)

  5. I’ll be praying for you all, but here’s my opinion. Life is a vapor. Think about your reward in eternity.

    And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. Matthew 19:29

    For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. 2 Cor 4:17

    Focus on the beauty and glory of Jesus and your idols will start to fade.

    As I was typing this, the song “Go” by Mercyme came on Pandora. It’s a sign :)

    My life has been instilled
    By a hope that never moves
    And yet it moves me still
    So I’m crying out to You
    Use me
    So I can take Your fame and glory
    For all to see
    No matter where Your hand may lead me

    I will go
    I will go
    To make You known
    I will go

    I can’t keep You to myself
    My heart is just too small
    There’s so many left to tell
    That You came for one and all
    Use me
    So I can take Your fame and Glory
    For all to see
    No matter where Your hand may lead me

    For a dying world in need
    For the hungry and the weak
    For the sinner scared to speak
    I will go

  6. Thank you, all, for your insightful comments. I am very grateful and thankful that you took the time to remark on this topic, which is very important to me. I will reflect on this and put your advice into action.

  7. Praying with you and Kathy as you evaluate. We started down that path, took a diversion (and I do believe it was God) and now we’re wondering again….maybe…just maybe. And we’re significantly older than 40. I rest in His timing.

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