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  • Writer's pictureSue Bowles

Letter to Returning Missionaries

I wrote a letter to our returning mission team. Veronica (passthenailstome) was kind enough to deliver it to them last night at their debriefing (gracias, amiga). I wanted to share it here. It’s really a message for all of us.


WELCOME BACK TO THE STATES! For the last week you’ve been prayed for, thought about, cared about, lifted up, and supported thousands of miles away, knowing that the God of the universe who appointed you as His ambassadors this past week would provide and protect you. You’ve no doubt had a wide array of experiences and exposure this week. And a lot of emotion – excitement, fear, awe, shock, humility, maybe some pride crept in, feelings of helplessness balanced with opportunities to help, overwhelmed yet empowered. Pretty wild ride, eh? And now the question becomes ‘what am I to do with this new knowledge?’

1CO 4:1 Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. 1CO 4:2 In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy. You have been Christ’s ambassadors, chosen by the Creator Himself before time began, to bring the glorious gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to the village of Las Higuerillas this past week. Nothing that happened was an accident. Nothing that happened surprised God (it may have surprised YOU, but that’s just God keeping you on your toes!). You have been His servants and stewards of His mysteries. You were trustworthy in your going. Now you must be trustworthy in your returning. 2PE 1:16 For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. Your life will not be the same. It can’t be. You’ve seen and heard and smelled and done things that many will NEVER have opportunity to do.That makes you different. That makes you an ambassador of another kind. That makes you a messenger and a steward whose responsibility now is to take the experience and use it as a springboard. Does that mean you have to become a full-time missionary? Yes and no. You already ARE a full-time missionary -right where God had planted you. Don’t miss that. But with your knowledge comes responsibility, and now your responsibility is to seek the Lord even more. You are still His ambassadors. You are still stewards. And because of your experiences you now have greater responsibility. Only the Lord can lead you. Only He can tell you what He has planned for your life. Is it full-time missionary work? Even if it’s not, you have been, and can continue, to be a part. You have gone. Last year you sent. And now, with your knowledge, you can pray even more effectively. And even if He doesn’t have you ‘going to the mission field’ as many define it, you have a responsibility as His child to share your experiences – long after the emotion has worn off. And not so much what ‘you’ did, but more what GOD did. To glorify God is to make Him look good! You will never look at things the same again. There will always be a ‘hint’ of your experiences in the lens of your eye and the beat of your heart. Your responsibility is really the same as it always has been – to know Him and make Him known. But the extent of your knowledge has increased exponentially this week. You are still His ambassador. You are still chosen of Him to make known the mysteries of God. You just have a different dimension of the same news to herald. Your relationship with Lord will never be the same, either. You’ve seen Him at work in a village far away, giving you divine appointments planned long ago. He has challenged your faith to make it stronger so He can use you more. The God of the universe who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, is the same yesterday, today, and forever no matter where He takes you. LUK 16:10 He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; MAT 20:28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. MAT 25:23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave; you were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ So welcome home, brothers & sisters. The journey has really just begun. I will continue to pray for you in your readjustment to life in the States and as you seek Him for your responsibility with this new knowledge. It has been a privilege and honor to be a part of the team, cheering from the bench, so to speak. If I could do a backflip I would! I look forward to seeing you Sunday. May your feet be shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace as you boldly proclaim His love and grace as His chosen ambassadors, not only in Mexico, but also in Ohio. Your friend and sister in Christ,


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