Tell me a job where someone enjoys going to an area of the world that is completely different, extremely muggy, no one understands you, there is every type of food available and most are not identifiable (and other unique smells), people laugh at you as you attempt to communicate with them and you honestly enjoy it. That, my friend, is the life of an Urban Missionary. I have shown up in Bangkok with many of my friends and colleagues. Protests going on down the street (Not because of us, but because of the politics of the country), every type of food being made out on the street, it is so hot, I cannot stop sweating, we flew all night and got about three hours of sleep and I am having a blast. Do you know why? Yep I am going to say it again, ‘Missionaries are weird.’ We are freaks of the ministry world. We are an odd lot, but I think most of us would be comfortable with this label, because the Lord has given it to us.
I know this job description is not unique to Urban Missions, there are other traveling careers. Other jobs in ministry and outside of ministry that get paid more and see many parts of the world, but the difference is purpose. Do those other job careers get to consider how we can do more for the Lord to reach more people for our Saviour? Probably not. Urban Missionary is a great gig, in a bizarre way.
In one day I have sat with people from India, Thailand, the US, Australia and more. Looking at the cities of Southeast Asia and how we can capitalise on the opportunities the Lord affords us in the city centres. How can we engage people with the Gospel, how we can equip Christians to do the work, how we mobilise Christians to do the work and how we can establish new believers in good churches?
I was talking with a good friend, Kent, today. We were discussing how the ‘tribes and tongues’ come to us in the cities. Chinese, Nepalese, Thai, Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, English, and the list goes on. They are here in Bangkok and in the other city centres.
My question to many of you, have you ever considered Urban Missions? The mission where the mission comes to you.
The Urban Missions Summit begins tomorrow. Pray for direction and wisdom. Pray for support and unity. Pray for creativity and courage. Pray that a room full of missions freaks would wrestle with the issues, disagree, pray, talk about the opportunities some more and come out on the other side with direction for the future. Most importantly, pray the Lord’s will be done.
Thank you for your support and prayers.
Urban Missionary Russ Matthews