rebelling against low expectations

When God Doesn’t Want You to Be a (Foreign) Missionary


Let me start by saying this: I love my foreign missionary brothers and sisters.

I think what they do is wonderful. I support them fully.

I am sure they are acting on God’s call for their life and that’s pretty amazing.

Let me also say this: not everyone is called to live life as a foreign missionary.

I have noticed a distinct pattern in the church lately. We all want to go, go, go – even at the expense of the lost people all around us.

When you are not called to go, you are called to stay and do the work of Christ here. You are not called to wait around for your seasonal mission trip and do the work of God then.

An excuse for not living a missional life in the States that I’ve heard is: “Everyone in America has Google; they don’t need you here.”

This is seriously one of the most ridiculous excuses I have ever heard (and yes, that reason is just an excuse, don’t fool yourself).

Do lost people routinely look up, “How to become a Christian,” “Who is Jesus Christ,” etc.? I promise you, most of them do not.

God said, “Go and make disciples,” not, “Leave the lost people that are here with the oh-so-reliable-Google, and go to other countries and love the lost people there instead.”

When you do not have the compassion to look at the brother or sister next to you in your home country the way that Christ would look at them, you do not have the compassion to do it elsewhere.

Don’t ignore someone in need simply because they are the same nationality as you. That’s shameful and I have seen that happen multiple times, just in the past couple of weeks.

Have you read Luke 15:1-7? If you’ve been in church for any amount of time over a year, I’m sure you’ve at least heard about it if you haven’t read it for yourself.

For those of you who have not, let me explain: Jesus was with the lost people, the tax collectors and the sinners, He was with them and teaching them. In Luke 15:1-7, he tells them the parable of the lost sheep.

He says to imagine that one of them has 100 sheep and that 1 gets away. Doesn’t the sheep owner leave the 99 sheep and pursue the 1 until he finds it?

He does.

He pursues the sheep until it is safe and accounted for. If this is what our master commands us to do, then why do we neglect the people that surround us every day?

When was the last time we saw someone sitting alone on our campus or in our office and offered to sit with them?

Why are we leaving people behind?

Why are we not reaching out to the people who need a friend right now in front of our faces and waiting until we can get to another country to do that godly work?

Just because Americans have access to the gospel does not mean that they have any idea of what the gospel is.

Many have no idea of the hope, rest, peace, comfort and love that is available to them through Jesus Christ.

Americans are dying to be loved, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, and we routinely see them searching for it in all the wrong places. Sex, money, experiences; why are we not striving in our daily life to reach them and show them what true love is?

As I stated at the beginning, I love my foreign missionary brothers and sisters. I believe that God has called them to that field and admire so much how they are serving and living it out.

But we are a body with many parts and we will not all be called to go internationally and if you are not called to go, you are in fact called to stay and live your life on mission for Christ right where you are.

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Photo courtesy of Visions Service Adventures and Flickr Creative Commons.


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About the author

Madeline Edwards

is an 18 year old College Freshman (and nurse in training) from sunny Florida. She grew up in church but did not come to know Christ in a real and personal way until she was 14. Now she has a passion to reach people with the message of the gospel. She loves, writing, photography, music, all things books and adventuring with her Shih Tzu, Emmet.


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  • I really love this! Although, I think I will be going overseas to be a missionary in the future, I still don’t know yet if that is something God wants me to do full time, I think I may end up going on shorter-term mission trips and maybe starting a full-time ministry in the U.S. But, God hasn’t really made it clear to me what path He has for my life, I just know that He’s called me to be in the ministry. So, I may end up overseas, and I may not. But all the same I really appreciated this post. Thanks for this!

    • Yay, I’m so glad you were encouraged by this, it was my prayer for others to be!

      That’s so exciting! I’m so happy to hear what God is doing in your life. It’s so encouraging to hear how you’re seeking His will for you! ❤️

  • THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!! One of my favorite missionaries ever is a man who came from Australia to the United States to witness to the lost here. Despite being ridiculed for going to a “Christian nation” to witness, he started a ministry that now runs a nationally known museum and is building a full sized replica of the Ark. You may have heard of him…his name is Ken Ham 😉

  • Amen. So many are lost right here and sometimes all it takes to bring them back is a kind word full of Gods love. Someone right here beside them to offer that there is still hope, still love, still forgivness, still a way back. We are surrounded by negativities everyday. We have all the modern conveniences there is to offer but those things do not replace looking into the face of another human being and seeing the truth that Jesus Christ is still alive and at work in the world through Christians. To know that we are not forsaken. Well said Madeline! God bless you.

    • I completely agree! People so need face-to-face interaction and to SEE Christ through others.

      Thank you! God bless you too 🙏🏼

  • Wow, a different perspective on foreign missionaries. It doesn’t matter where we are in this world, we are still called to be the light of the world. Thank you for reminding me.

  • Thank you so much for this reminder, Madeline. We can get caught up in going where God wants us, that we neglect the fact that He expects us to serve Him and those around us where we are this very day! Good thoughts, Madeline. Thank you 🙂

    • Amen! Sometimes the going causes us to forget the here and now.

      So happy you were encouraged, thank YOU for your kind words! 😊

  • This was truely amazing! I hear it all the time about how other country need our help but no one ever seems to say “Hey! Our country needs help too!” The US is heading down a very dark path and many people are walking it blindfolded because no one even tries to share God’ grace ad love with them. I think its about time we start helping our own country.

    • Yes, definitely! America may be a “Christian” nation but it is so lost and you’re exactly right; it IS heading down a very dark path. My prayer is for a great revival of Christ’s church here in our country.

      God bless you! 🙏🏼

      • Yes! We need another great awakening! We need true Christians to stand up and fight for what’s right instead of trying not to offend anyone! Jesus offended a lot of people by showing them the truth, but did He stop because of that? No! He didn’t. So, it’s time we do the same, it’s time for Christians to come out from hiding and to shine the light.

        Sister in Christ,

  • This post is so true 🙂 It seems like the term “missionary” is one we reserve for people in third world countries, when in reality, they are some–and many more needed–in “Christian” nations. (Also, I didn’t have a Bible on hand when reading this, and I felt slightly bad for Googling the verse to read it… =P)

    • Agreed! I think as Christians, we’re all “missionaries” in some capacity or another. Some of us are called to stay here in “Jurusalem,” some will be called to step out into “Judea and Samaria” and some will most certainly be called to reach the “ends of the earth.” (Referencing Acts 1:8).

      Haha well I don’t always have my Bible on hand either. I think that’s awesome that you took the time to look up the verses though! It’s always best to fact check any article for yourself.

      God bless! ❤️

  • I have to admit, when I read, the title “When God doesn’t want you to be a (foreign) missionary” I told myself “Then I’ll come home” =^D but I totally agree with what you’re saying. If the Americans could evangelize the Americans it would benefit the whole world dramatically. Y’all may not realize it, but American culture has a huge impact on the Republic of South Africa, and I’m sure on a number of other countries many Americans have never heard about =^D

    • Ooh you’re a foreign missionary? That’s so awesome, God bless you!

      I totally agree and reading your comment has really solidified it for me; we as Americans definitely have a lot more influence than I think we are aware of.

      Thanks for the words, friend and thank you for being faithful to step out into God’s calling for your life! 😄

  • Right! We’re called to act Christians wherever we are. I plan to head overseas after graduation, but for now, I have a job here. Thanks for the encouragement!

    • Amen! That’s so awesome, thank you for heeding God’s call for your life! You will make an incredible impact I’m sure.

      So glad you could be encouraged! 💜

  • Much Much needed! Thank you so much Madeline for speaking about this often silent issue! I like what you said about google. I feel like especially in America, people don’t really need the head knowledge of how to become a Christian, they need examples living all around them of people lost in a relationship with God. I think the thing that often turns American unbelievers away is the lack of difference between the lives of believers and unbelievers. This is mostly in part from the many “name only” Christians and how the church in America is very far from living a sacrificial life totally in service to Christ abandon to all else. But if we who are committed to the Lord all go over seas to work, what examples will the unbelievers here have? God wants Americans to live for him as well.
    The other thing I’ve been learning recently is now that Christianity is introduced in so many countries, the most efficient way to expand the gospel, especially through closed countries, is through native Christians. Considering, they know the culture, language, and already live in the same circumstances those who need to hear about the Lord do. It’s easier for them to relate and they are excepted better. In the same way, we have special ability to reach the many lost in America.
    Thanks again!
    By His breath, Dorothy

  • Im pretty late to this, but I just wanted to applaud you! Your writing is beautiful, but more than that, this subject has really been on my mind (so much that I did my oral test in one of my classes on it). I love love love serving internationally, I believe that it is so important and it is such a need. But at the same time, it kills me that so many people in the United States are being neglected because they “have the same opportunities as everyone else”. After volunteering for a couple summers at a facility downtown that serves women and children I have so many needs for Christ 20 minutes away from me! thank you for this article, it legitimately put shivers up my spine. I would encourage you to continue in domestic outreach, its SO important!

By Madeline Edwards
rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →