Missionary Interview with Emily, Part II

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(Interview with missionary Emily Watkins continued from Tuesday, June 9.)

What’s it like being a missionary kid?

I think that this best describes what it is like to be a Missionary Kid.

You know you are a Missionary Kid when…

You tell people where you are from and their eyes get big.

The majority of your friends don't speak English as a first language.

You flew before you could walk.

You dream in a foreign language.

Adults want to pay you to teach them English.

You find a seven year old picture of yourself on someone's refrigerator.

Your grandparents send you peanut butter and Kool-Aid for Christmas.

Someone brings up the name of a team, and you get the sport wrong.

The best word for something is the word you learned first, regardless of the language.

What’s your biggest challenge as a missionary?

My biggest challenge since I moved back to the United States has been adjusting to the fact that I am no longer on a mission. For example, this year Christmas didn’t seem the same with out our Christmas Eve dinner for the poor in Poland. Although it is exciting to move to another place, leaving behind my church, home, and many friends has been difficult at times.

Another challenge that has popped up over the years is finding a common language with my peers. I have always had many good friends in Poland, but sometimes it was hard to achieve the level of friendship that I wanted due to cultural and religious barriers.

In the beginning of our time in Poland, I remember coming home from first grade trying to mimic the sounds of the words my teacher said. My mother would have to look up these words in the dictionary or call a Polish friend to help me with my homework. Those were the struggles of the first few years when both my parents and I were learning the language. Later of course, as I became fluent in Polish, the language barriers diminished.

What’s the most rewarding part of being a missionary?

Living as a missionary kid in Poland has allowed me to learn another language and culture. Also, living a life of constant serving has proved to me the abundant joy of giving. It has also caused me to understand that life doesn’t revolve simply around me, because there are many people less fortunate than I am.

Another one of the advantages of living oversees has been traveling abroad. Since Poland lies in central Europe, it was very cheap for me to visit other countries like Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Great Britain, Hungry, Croatia, Slovenia, and Turkey. What’s more, living in a different culture has allowed me to form stronger ties with my family, because they were the only people around that spoke my own language.

What would you say to someone who’s thinking about becoming a missionary one day?

If you are thinking about becoming a missionary, then Jesus has already begun to stir your heart for the lost. As you get closer and closer to Jesus, then that feeling will only grow stronger, because the lost, the poor, the widows, and the orphans sit in the center of God’s heart. If you feel that God is calling you to missions, then don’t let that desire die. “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few” (Matthew 9:37, NIV). Today, over 40% of the population of the world is in so called “unreached people groups” which have never even heard the gospel before. As you draw nearer to God in prayer and service, the Lord will open the doors for you to enter into his place of appointment. He knows the perfect time for all things. Place every dream and anxiety into his hands, because when God calls us to do something he always gives us strength. Essentially, it is not about how much you can do, but about allowing the Lord to move through you, his vessel, to carry His light to a dark and hurting world. He is the source of your love, your strength, and your joy in every situation. Missionaries are just normal people who do two simple things – listen and obey. That is why the best way you can prepare yourself to become a missionary is by cultivating a relationship with Christ, learning to hear and his voice and wholeheartedly serve the people around you.

So follow your dreams, but start out small and let your passion grow. Jesus promises his children that if they are faithful in the small, he will entrust them with much more (Matthew 25:21, NIV). A missionary’s purpose is not to save the whole world, nation, city, or village (though he should pray for these things). No, being a missionary is all about loving the person right in front of you. It’s about fulfilling the greatest commands in the Bible to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind” and to “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27, NIV). So, in truth, we are all missionaries, because we are all called to love unconditionally. We are all commanded to fulfill Christ’s foremost commission to “preach the good news to all creation,” whether in America or in a foreign country (Mark 16:15, NIV).

Prayer Points for This Region of the World:

The young people in Poland that they would turn to Christ as they search for meaning in their lives.

Christians that they might remain strong in the faith.

Guidance and protection for the pastors and leaders in Poland.

Churches in Poland that they might move more outward to serve their communities despite opposition.

The government in Poland – that the Lord would raise up godly men and women who will stand for justice and righteousness amidst corruption.

Pray for the new Prime Minister in Poland who has a heart to serve God and the Polish people.

For More Info:

Pictures: http://www.luban.pl/galeria/galeria_luban/luban.php
Information about Poland: http://poland.pl/ and http://info-poland.buffalo.edu/keytopoland.html
Mission to Unreached Peoples mission organization: http://www.mup.org/countries/index.php
Pictures from 6-week discipleship camps: http://www.obozuczniostwa.pl/album/gallery.html
Youth Conference Clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qziwKgIY20

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