October 3, 2017 | View All Stories

How Does Native Missions Answer God’s Call?

“Here I Am, Lord” by Dan Schutte

I, the Lord of sea and sky,
I have heard My people cry.
All who dwell in deepest sin
My hand will save.
I who made the stars of night,
I will make their darkness bright.
Who will bear My light to them?
Whom shall I send?

Here I am, Lord.
Is it I, Lord?
I have heard You calling in the night
I will go, Lord, if You lead me.
I will hold Your people in my heart.

I, the Lord, of snow and rain,
I have borne My people’s pain.
I have wept for love of them,
They turn away.
I will break their hearts of stone,
Give them hearts for love alone.
I will speak My word to them.
Whom shall I send?

I, the Lord of wind and flame,
I will tend the poor and lame.
I will set a feast for them,
My hand will save.
Finest bread I will provide
Till their hearts be satisfied.
I will give My life to them.
Whom shall I send?

How does native missions answer God’s call?

I heard this hymn for the first time recently when a friend shared one version of it on Facebook. The song touched me deeply. It compelled me—I kept listening to it, crying each time. I finally realized that this song is a missions song that goes to the heart of what Advancing Native Missions is about and does. Let me explain.

At ANM we tell people that we are not a “sending missions organization,” and we aren’t. But we do find native missionaries who have heard the call, “Whom shall I send?” We find them, vet them, hear their stories, and see their work. Then we come back to the US to raise support for them. Why do missions this way?

Native missionaries know the language, the culture, the customs, the food, the expectations of their own land. They can relate to the lost in their own homeland more effectively than those from outside. As borders close and prevent American missionaries from entering many countries, it is easier to support native Christians than to try to get Americans into these countries.

Partnership in God’s call

So the native missionaries are carrying the Light to the lost. They are the ones to teach the truth about sin and salvation. They are the ones God is calling to reach their people. At ANM we are like Aaron and Hur holding up the arms of Moses, supporting the missionaries in their task (Exodus 17:11–12).

Whether we work exclusively in the office or travel overseas, our ANM staff answers the call to support missionaries. Many of us work primarily Stateside: we hear the stories of missionaries, pray for them, love them, and speak on their behalf. We write their stories and share about them wherever we can. We rejoice when they rejoice, weep when they weep. Our common bond in Jesus is such a blessing. We are brothers and sisters. We are family. As I know from my own experiences of meeting and fellowshipping with visiting missionaries, I “hold [God’s] people in my heart.”

As we share the stories of our missionary family, Christians here in the States join with us, and together we raise support, give supplies, train, and encourage those who have answered the cry, “Whom shall I send?”

Other staff travel frequently to the field. They go to speak the words of Christ to the missionaries and then help them to do the same for their own people. Our short-term mission teams work, share, teach, preach…whatever the ministry needs. Sometimes it’s a conference to encourage pastors and missionaries, or a women’s conference to support and encourage women, especially spouses of pastors and missionaries—with funding, food, and the program at no cost to them, just to be a blessing.

Other teams provide construction, teaching, or medical assistance, becoming the hands and feet of Jesus. Sometimes we literally feed the missionaries and their people. We give them the Bread of Life, but we also give them food to eat. Our regional field representatives also visit ministries to assess and encourage them. In everything, we help meet the needs of the missionaries so they can serve effectively among their own people.

Many ways to answer the call

There is great variety in our partners’ ministries to those who are “in deepest sin,” “in darkness,” living with “hearts of stone,” and suffering as the “poor and lame.” ANM doesn’t dictate what a ministry should do or how they should work. We evaluate each ministry to confirm that it is doctrinally sound and financially accountable, then we seek ways to help them minister as God has called them to minister. Some help rescue children and women out of the sex trade or train and teach deaf people; others hold medical and dental clinics, teach soccer, hold youth camps, or raise pigs and chickens for poor families; others raise orphans, translate Bibles, speak on the radio, train pastors, provide marriage retreats, show Christian films, smuggle Bibles, and the list goes on. These aren’t cookie-cutter ministries. They have a shared passion to reach the “hearts of stone” in whatever way the Lord has led them to do.

Heeding His call

Have you heard the Lord calling you? Has He called you in the night? What has He called you to do? We tell people that there are several ways to get involved with ANM and obey the call of God. You can pray. You can give. You can go. You can be an advocate. Or just contact us to share your heart. We’d love to help you answer God’s call in any way we can.

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Sue Morris is a writer with ANM's Marketing team.

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