Why Are You Here?

Douglas VanBronkhorst

READ : 1 Thessalonians 2:1-6

For we never came with words of flattery. (v. 5)

Gerald's parents sent him to a local school. That was unusual. Most Americans sent their children to the international school. Gerald was the lone exception, but he did well. He had friends, was fluent in the language, and the academics were fine, with some additional tutoring from his parents. Most days Gerald could handle being the only foreigner and Christian in his class. One day his patience gave way. During a social studies lesson Gerald read in the textbook, “All Christian missionaries work for the CIA.” Actually, this was a common charge, but this was the first time Gerald encountered it personally. It made him angry. He raised his hand and when called on said, “My parents are missionaries and they aren't spies!”

When Gerald told his parents what happened, they were concerned. They were living in a Muslim country to share their faith in Christ but never referred to themselves as “missionaries” because of the negative attitudes associated with the term. What would Gerald's teacher do? They couldn't blame him for telling the truth and defending their honor, but it could lead to trouble and jeopardize their work. To their relief, the teacher called to apologize for the textbook's error and thank Gerald for speaking up! It was obvious she believed his parents were indeed Christian missionaries, but she wasn't threatened by them. Many Muslims are open in this way, if the “missionary” motives and methods are not offensive.


Lord, I want to be an ambassador for you.