Saturday, January 12, 2013

Lordie, no! I'm too high-maintenance for missions!

"Lordie, no! I'm too high maintenance for missions!" was my exact cry whenever I thought about going on overseas missions.
To be quite honest, whenever I heard about an opportunity to go on a missions trip, I would brush it off and think "That's meant for someone else. Not me". I had declared myself to be a Local Missionary. And that label wasn't just a label to me. I have truly taken it seriously as I have been intentional about locally serving broken people in the name of Christ. I imagined myself going on a short term missions trip sometime in my life...but it had to be a place with running water for my showers and electricity for my hair straightener. I had a conviction that God would never call me out of my little comfort zone of Canada to go on a long-term missions trip. I kind of still have that conviction because I think you need to have a calling to be a long term missionary.
Anyways, this past September, we (Tyndale seminary student council) were running our first event of the school year for the Seminary student body. At the beginning of the event, Shelley (our prez) was giving some announcements. I was standing far off, listening, but also ready to turn my attention elsewhere since I knew she was going to announce the upcoming missions trips (which I was not interested in). She said "Alright, listen up...especially you counselling students- there is an opportunity this Summer to go to Kolkata, India to work with women in the sex trade". Suddenly, during that brief announcement, I felt that God gripped me heart, squeezed it and at the same time inserted interest and compassion in me for this trip. Immediately, I knew I had to go to Kolkata, India. I prayed "God, if this is You leading me, then You will open the doors for me to go. Your will be done". To make a long story short, I was accepted last month to go to Kolkata to partner with missionaries that work with women in the sex trade and addict children. Praise God.
When I was being interviewed to be on the India team, I was asked what my fears were about going on a missions trip. I told them that I feared my high-maintenance ways and that my hair would be frizzy. The interviewer kindly replied: "You're just gonna have to let it go. Let your hair go and let the frizz happen!".

So, my friends, here I go. I go into this journey of frizzy India...for Jesus. lol.

God is calling me outside of my comfort zone. I don't know what will happen after I go to India. I highly doubt He'll call me to full time missions, but at least He's proven me wrong about thinking I would never go to a country where I'd have to get my feet dirty, or have frizzy hair.

Since applying to go to India, I feel like God has been reminding me of events that have lead up to this decision. I'd like to briefly share those reminders with you before I conclude.

  • In 2008, my then home church (Cristo Para Todos) hosted a missions conference. I really didn't want to go but I did anyway. (You can tell the negative attitude I had toward missions). By the end of the conference, I felt my heart was moved for missionaries who would give up so much for Christ's sake.
  • In 2010, I attended my school's (Heritage College and Seminary) annual missions conference. At a seminar, a missionary spoke about being high-maintenance. Yet, the Lord still led her to overseas missions and didn't change her high-maintenance ways. I thought this was cool. 
  • In the summer of 2011, my best friend Catherine took me to a MoveIn ( patch because they were hosting their monthly missions night meetings. I went, just to spend time with Catherine. But by the end of the meeting, I was so moved by the missions needs presented. I was extremely moved. As I was praying with others at the end of that night, I was so confused by my feelings. I couldn't understand why I wasn't only burdened but I also wanted to go. It was contrary to my desires! Either way, I prayed "Your will be done". 
  • In 2012, God reminded me of a desire I had for a long time. You see, I've never had an interest for travelling around the world to tropical and exotic destinations. Sure, it would be cool, but I'm not interested. I look forward to the day that God will make a new heavens and new earth (Revelations 21) and I will see His perfect creation- not marred like it is now. I am going to see the new heavens and new earth, better than it looks now. So, because of that anticipation, I always prayed "God, until then, allow me to see the ugly places of this world. The places were people are broken and suffering. Take me there. Move me with compassion for them, like Jesus has compassion on them (Matthew 9:36) and send me to love them and give them Your truths. Your will be done."
Now, God has pieced the latter together and worked it toward going to India. I am going to an ugly place- HEY! BEFORE YOU TAKE THIS THE WRONG WAY- this is what I mean.... I don't mean the physical aesthetics of the place, but a place where suffering and darkness is found; that's ugly. I am going to a place of brokeness; a place where children sniff glue to repress their emotions and a place where women sell their bodies for a living. I already have a passion for working in these areas here locally. But now, I have an opportunity to do it for a short time, in Kolkata, India. 

My Prayer: God, here I go. Make me ready, as You already have been doing. Thank You because You continually challenge Your children to step outside their comfort zone, for the glory of Jesus, Your Kingdom and the gospel. Prepare me. Prepare our team.  That the Holy Spirit may give us boldness to witness and pour His love in us (Romans 5:5) to love the people we will encounter in India.
Forgive me for my negative attitude toward missions in the past years and for brushing it off. You sure showed me. Thank You.
In the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, Amen. 


  1. And Father I pray that as Arleen takes this journey and leap of faith that you would protect her physically from spiritual warfare. Let her be on the offensive and resist the attacks that will ensue as a result of the work You are beautifully doing. Build strong foundations for you that she will step off of into this unknown and new experience. - love Catherine

  2. May you journey be blessed! I am so excited for the work that the Lord is doing in you and will continue to do in you!