What do you think of when you think of a missionary?
I immediately think of someone, or some family, out in some tribal village or remote town, living on the bare minimum, trying to reach locals in a language that is not their native tongue.
We have friends that are missionaries in Cambodia and Thailand, and that description is not far from the truth. We also have acquaintances that "teach English" in restricted countries, if you know what I mean. I have so much respect for all of them. They have left the comforts of this western lifestyle, all to reach others with the gospel so they, too, can have a hope and future in heaven.
The Bible has many verses instructing us to tell others about Jesus. That makes us all missionaries of some kind, doesn't it? But we're not all called to do the same work, or head out to a foreign land. Some of us are called to do God's work right in our own neighborhoods, families, and towns.
That's where our family is right now. We can't travel overseas to do missionary work (can you imagine the chaos we'd probably cause with 5 little ones?), so we are partnering for the second time with Christian Resources International for a Bare Your Bookshelf Campaign. A couple of years ago, we visited their facility. We assisted in boxing books, making bookmarks, and even prayed over and watched them load a 40 foot ocean container FULL of Christian materials being sent to the Netherlands. They ship ocean containers worldwide to areas in need...places where even pastors don't have Bibles, let alone their members. How many Bibles do you own? Places that have never heard the gospel...how many times have you heard it? They also ship Christian homeschool materials, fiction and nonfiction books, Sunday school materials, gently used crayons, and more that you can read about HERE.
Do you have materials sitting on your shelf that you're no longer using? Maybe your children are grown and don't need their picture Bible anymore. Maybe you have several Bibles that you don't use all that much, that a pastor could use who has never owned one! Maybe your children have an endless supply of crayons...you know you can easily pick up more in a pinch! What about gently used Bible story coloring books? Do you always refer back to all of your Bible study books, or could you envision someone who barely knows the Bible benefiting from it? Because frankly in this country...we can push a couple of buttons on our computer and order another one in a matter of minutes, and for not much money.
If you find that you have materials, why not consider sending them to CRI? And if you live close by, get them to me, and our family will do another road trip.
You and your family may not be called to live as overseas missionaries, but we're all called to share Jesus. Now off you go to your bookshelves and boxes!