An immigrant or a missionary?

An immigrant or a missionary?

Mark 4:15  And he said to them: Go into all the world, preach the gospel to every creature.

For many years, we have witnessed people migrating to other countries with the sole intention of receiving and living through conquering material things from that land.

This is not new and did not start ‘yesterday’, we can see this in different eras and in different countries. Our heart’s intention has always been to receive something in return for what we do.

When we look at the scriptures, we see that God’s desire is for every creature to experience the preaching of the gospel, but this becomes much more difficult when our eyes are on the achievements of that land than on its own people.

Acts 2:17 will show us God’s desire for the last days. A burning desire of God to pour out his spirit over all the earth. When we read this, it makes us think that our life needs to move towards something, and that something and see God’s desire fulfilled in the country we are living. This will require a missionary heart and not an immigrant heart.

I remember like it was today, me and my wife having a conversation one night and she came to me surprised and said “this is what we’re missing”, and I asked “what do you mean?”  and she said “Our mentality needs to change from an immigrant to a missionary, only then we will understand how God looks at this people and this land.”

That day it seems that our hearts and mind switched, something made sense on earth and in heaven. From that day on, we began to pray for God to change our hearts and clean our eyes, which for a few years had been focused only on what we could achieve in the country that we were living.

No matter how much we do, but if our heart is not a missionary heart, we will never really understand what God wants for that people and for that land. God will not trust your dreams and your heart in someone who only has an immigrant attitude and heart.

 John 7:16-18 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.

As a Christian immigrant, we often think that we are seeking to do God’s will, we actually are seeking our own glory and our own ways to light the embers and we forget that when we decide to do God’s will, we will discover and know the glory of that who was sent. Our past experiences are of great value, but they cannot bind us to conquer the new that God, we will show us and guide us to experience when we hear from God his heart’s desire for that nation.

To know God’s heart for the nation will help us to leave behind all of our cultural baggage that we have carried for years and to step up on the understanding the hearts of the people we are dealing with.

Having lived in 4 different countries, it made me experience and see how an immigrant behaves according to the culture of the country he lives in. Many of us live in other countries with our hearts still in our homeland and we forget that our hearts need to be free of everything that holds us on this earth and that we need to be driven to the desire of God’s heart. When we don’t live and understand God’s heart for that land, we live within our cultural bubble, within our own language groups of friends, we are unintentional in our work and college relationships as we see them as a mere bridge to what I want to achieve in that certain country.

Our hearts need to break out to a place where we see the people of the land we live as a family. My desire and prayer are that all those who have the call to migrate to another country and that God mold their hearts to a missionary heart, a heart that will not be tied to the riches of that country. May your time be dedicated to understanding what God wants for that nation, going back to what we said already… God’s plan is that all flesh experiences the transforming power of God’s life.

One of the biggest challenges we face when we are outside the country we were born in, is to understand the processes and know how to read different cultures. I would like to explore these two points very briefly with you.

The processes – Migrating to another country is never an easy task. We face challenges that we never imagined finding and unfortunately many get lost in the adaptation process. Our hearts need to be light to understand the steps we need to take in each season, to understand that there is a time for everything. The processes will teach us that maybe our way of doing is not the same as God’s way. Many times, we will find ourselves in a situation where we do not see God move as he did in our churches in Brazil, but the process will teach us that God is most interested that His power manifests itself and revives his people. Our posture in the middle of the process needs to be of a humble heart, broken and with lots of prayer so that God does manifest himself in that land, but manifests himself the way He wants and not ours.

Different cultures – Understanding and reading the different cultures that we will deal with in our immigration will help us not to nullify the culture of our neighbour, but rather to value and find a way to show that Jesus He will always be above any culture or customs. Many times, we will want to impose our culture on the other culture we are living in and that is one of the biggest mistakes we can make as immigrants. In some situations, we may even make the mistake of describing God’s action through our cultural lens and judging that God isn’t moving just because we don’t see God moving the same way He did in our mother culture. We need to remember that the desire of God is for His glory to manifests through the change of our character and life to be more like Christ. I would like to close this conversation by reminding us of Mark 16:15. We need to go to ALL over the world and preach the gospel to EVERY creature and that will demand everything, our life, our house, our dreams, our family and above all… our heart! A missionary heart that seeks to understand the Father’s heart for that land and season, that seeks to listen to God’s voice for the next steps, and that seeks a bold heart that does not cling to anything of value that the land God has promised us can offer us.

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