Has anyone tried to discourage you from going on outreach or mission work?
We have found it’s not uncommon for well-meaning people to try to stop us from what we think God is calling us to do. How do we approach this? Dr. Cynthia addresses the situation in this video.
Dr. C starts with the example of when a local missionary told her and another volunteer not to go to a mosque, because it was too radical and dangerous. The team was in a strange big city and already nervous. Getting this call shortly before they left was very unsettling. Since the missionary was experienced and knew the city well, naturally his word was to be respected. But the team was committed and had distribution material ready to go. What to do now?
Cynthia and Joanna prayed more. They reflected that they had:
* come to the city for outreach
* researched the opportunity and prepared materials
* prayed seriously about it for days
* and were doing this for God, not in any way for themselves
They decided that all this being the case, it would be best if they followed through with the outreach.
Praise God that they did! The Muslim worshippers were very open and accepted hundreds of Jesus videos. Some people went back and reported inside the mosque that Christians were distributing outside (this is usual), so an imam came out to confront them. But he was for the most part respectful. He stayed for over an hour and asked Dr. C many questions, which she answered. His questions also gave her more insight to the Muslim way of thinking.
A similar thing happened when an Arab missionary told Joanna and Cynthia not to do an outreach in a Muslim country. But the two were convinced that it was God’s will and went ahead, with success.
From these events and others like them, we have learned in our ministry that when we step out of the box, people – even good Christians – will try to stop us. This is usually because they are thinking first of our safety, or an inconvenience it may cause them.
Mark 8:33 is a perfect verse for these situations:
“You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”
Therefore, WE ADVISE:
* pray in advance about outreach and other ministry decisions
* sincerely seek God’s will, not your own
* research and adequately prepare
* listen carefully and respectfully to advice from others
* but realize that usually people trying to stop you are reacting without thought
DECIDE: If the person obstructing you has not given as much prayer and submission to the will of God as you have, continue in faith along the path that God is directing. If they have bathed their advice in dedicated prayer, weigh their advice more heavily.
Another “Oh No! Don’t Go!” response is one that every Christian can expect from their family and friends. Again, these people are speaking with good intentions; but they are usually not seeing the situation with a kingdom view.
Dr. C tells of a volunteer whose father-in-law had a heart attack the morning that she was leading an outreach team. Her husband was understandably upset. His father was an unbeliever who had rejected the gospel for decades. The husband told her, “If he dies it will be your fault that he goes to hell!”
Wow! How would you like to hear that?
With little time to decide, the volunteer prayed for guidance. God gave her a wise reply, “If you are getting the plane tickets right now, I will cancel the event. Otherwise, if you are waiting, I will finish this commitment first.” It was the right decision. The father lived; many Muslims got the gospel and new team members were trained.
We hope that our experiences will make it easier for you to accept when these kinds of obstacles come your way. We hope that you will be able to put in perspective the advice of those who would discourage you from doing God’s will, and give you tools for making the correct decision.