We use a reverse mission philosophy where the unreached are placed in a believing family who consider themselves “on mission”. The guests are welcomed and embraced as family. As a result, they are exposed to the gospel primarily through the family living out their faith in the real world.
Instead of the missionary going to the mission field, the mission field comes to the missionary.
“Individuals deciding to trust in Christ are converted mainly through long-term relationships with Christians. ‘Relationships are very important in the Spanish society’, explains Christian and Missionary Alliance field director Raymond Ebbert.
It’s critical to personalize our communication of the gospel. The effective sharing of the good news is not just a transmission of theological truths but the sharing of one’s life. What is much more effective is communication through a previously existing relationship. That takes time, hard work and patience.”
Establishing enduring relationships through a “Reverse Mission”
One manner of developing relationships is to bring the mission field “home” literally. By importing the mission field to the homes of Christians, the visitors are able to see, hear, and feel the gospel through the committed “love” of their believing family.
The American family as “Pioneer Missionary”
The home is an embassy where Christ’s ambassadors meet the “mission field”. God willing, a relationship that goes beyond the period of time spent with the family will grow. Internet, phone, letters and future visits are all ways to demonstrate a commitment to continued relationship. As the Ebbert quote above stated, the spread of the good news is more effective through existing relationships and that takes time, hard work and patience.
When the mission field comes home, the visitors aren’t the only ones who see more clearly the Kingdom of Christ. The short-term mission family sees Christ at work through the call to host. They continue to see Christ at work as they pray for their new adoptee. The joy of seeing lights go on in the student’s head encourages the family that they are serving as an instrument of God. If that is not enough, the awareness of an unreached people is made personal and can be a matter of continued prayer.
The Church’s role
In addition to the family others who are brought into the process grow up in their understanding of reaching the lost. Any people the family brings in as support staff (prayer support, administrative support, etc.) come into contact with the student personified by one child. The family’s church can also become a vital part of this short-term ministry through its very different worship, the witness of its fellowship and its commitment to pray for any families serving as short-term missionaries.
A challenging but rewarding mission
This isn’t an easy mission. A family must care for and demonstrate a committed love to a stranger in only 30 days. A family must live out its imperfect life in front of a stranger. A family must readjust dreams as that stranger begins to live with them. But it is a rewarding mission. If the family truly believes that God has brought this individual from this unreached people group into their home, the Lord can be seen in all that happens.