Thursday, July 26, 2012

Born To Be_____.

I was born to be a missionary. When I asked my mom if she was sitting down so I could tell her I was moving to Costa Rica to be a missionary she retorted, "Julie, I bore you and I raised you. Did you think that would surprise me?" She then reminded me that when I was 18 I told her if I was in my late 20's and still single I was going to move overseas to do missions. Ok. I get it.

I have loved every minute of my time here in Costa Rica. I have learned so much about myself, the world at large, and the Kingdom of God. I have learned new skills (like cutting hair and crocheting) and learned that I am not so good at other things (like using a machete or chucking coconuts over very tall fences). I have kissed more dirty, snotty nosed faces (both children and adult....) than I can count. My eyes have seen people healed of physical pain and my heart has rejoiced over emotional wounds on the mend. Countless faces have passed through the doors of our house with innumerable stories still left to be told. New friends were made (and added to facebook, hahaha) and life-long friendships have been established.

But now I am moving home. I am in transition. And the next generation of women born to be missionaries are filling in the places yet untouched in this community. They are joining in the work that God started long before I got here, where the foundation was laid by Rodney and Cindy and all the other interns who came before me who were also born to be missionaries.
Once upon a time there were men born to be kings. Two that come to mind are David and Hezekiah. David because he was THE man after God's own heart. He was chosen as a boy and I think more is written about him than any one else. He fills up so much of the old testament and is referred to frequently in the new. Hezekiah because the Bible says there was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. He basically had what we refer to as the Midas touch. Everything he touched turned to gold.

What has been most striking to me these days is the legacy these kings left to the next generation of kings.

David obviously mentored his son well. He taught him everything he knew about being a king. He prepared his son to take over where he left off. He even made provisions for his son to build a bigger and better kingdom, as well as a temple for the Lord. David instilled in Solomon such a hunger and desire for wisdom and bettering the kingdom for the sake of the people, that when God appeared to Solomon to give him anything he desired, Solomon chose the very thing his father, David, had told him to ask for (see Proverbs 4:3).

David left a legacy for Solomon's generation to go deeper in the Lord and enter into areas of the Kingdom of God that David knew he would never be able to see.

Hezekiah, however, didn't leave such a hot legacy. Hezekiah was ill, deathly ill. But he asked God to spare his life. So God granted him 15 more years of life, and to prove it, God made the sun actually move backwards (2 Kings 20). After Hezekiah recovered, he apparently let it get to his head, and he showed off everything he owned to the neighboring king of Babylon, in a bragging, prideful kind of way. This was a major no-no. It basically showed his hand to the other kingdom, which the prophet Isaiah then prophesied that Babylon would take away everything from Hezekiah's kingdom, but not until after his death. Hezekiah was grateful for that little piece of knowledge and settled back to live the last of his days in peace, comfort, and prosperity. Only apparently he forgot to tell his son where all of that peace, comfort, and prosperity came from, because his son, Manasseh, was one of the worst, most sinful kings in history.

Hezekiah did not leave a legacy for Manasseh at all. Manasseh strayed far from the teaching of his father and I have to wonder how much of a relationship they even had.

So here I am, leaving the mission field here in Anonos for several new missionaries to come in behind. What kind of a legacy do I want to leave them? What kind of legacy have I paved the way for? I pray, and I ask you to join in prayer with me, that the legacy that is left behind is one that continues to further the Kingdom. I pray that the missionaries who come behind me see even more of the riches of the kingdom of God than I did during my time here.

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