Missions. What comes to mind when you hear this word? Developing nations? Community service? English lessons? Most of the time, we think of stepping out into another world.
What about including those within our own homes into our world?
This is how one simple invitation set off a ripple of blessings.
A Timely Invitation
In March 2018, a Covenanter invited her foreign domestic worker, Iris (not her real name) to attend Covenant’s Good Friday outreach service. It was Iris’ third month of employment in this household and she was rather taken aback by the question. She had been keeping rather to herself and maintained a strict separation between her work and personal affairs. Nevertheless she decided to give church a shot.
Unbeknownst to her employer, she was in a place of deep need at that time. She was struggling with hurt and betrayal and it was difficult to share with anyone.
Joining the worship service brought her comfort, “I was surprised by the warmth and hospitality of the people in church. It was the first time someone asked (me) how I was, hugged me, and even offered to pray for me. I cried out of joy.”
At the end of the service, she decided to fill up the newcomer’s form. Her bewildered employer asked if she was sure about signing up!
After three days, someone from church got in touch with her and invited her to join the regular church service. She agreed to it and attended the following Sunday’s English service. After the service, a befriender brought her to the Filipino Fellowship where she found a community of her own people.
Iris enjoying the Filipino Fellowship’s monthly potbless and celebration of birthdays on 6th Jan 2020
Moment of Surrender
In the months that followed, Iris journeyed with sisters in the fellowship, “I made a lot of new friends and became very happy!” However, she continued to hang out with another set of friends who encouraged her to drown her issues with worldly fun. She felt that there was something wrong about going to church and keeping these old habits at the same time, but she wasn’t ready to give them up.
A particular mentor, Mirzi, gave her a gift with Proverbs 31:25 written on it: “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” Strength and dignity were qualities she never thought she possessed, “Those words from the Bible moved me deeply.” It was such a needed affirmation that it made her tear and filled her with confidence.
As the year 2019 began, Iris found herself no longer enjoying the things she used to do with her old friends. So she stopped hanging out with them and spent more time in church. At this point, she finally decided to completely surrender her life to God. “I felt an overwhelming sense of grace,” she described that moment of surrender. She got baptised a few months after that.
A New Life
Life has taken on a new meaning for Iris, “I used to go to my room and cry to myself when I have a problem. But now I cry out to God. I no longer feel alone. I can feel God’s comfort and I know that I’m very blessed.”
Iris continues to grow and serve in the Filipino Fellowship. Her passion for Christ is evident as she takes time to pass on this faith to her daughter back home in the Philippines. She enrolled her child in a Christian school. And every week, they would have video calls so that Iris can teach her about the Bible. She has also been joining an online Bible study group in the Philippines led by her aunt. She has grown so much in her faith that she has even been asked to share the Word and be a blessing to others through it.
Missions Begins at Home
It is amazing what God can do with simple acts of blessing others – from the employer who gave Iris the opportunity to go to church, the people in the service who showed her concern, the befrienders who followed up on her, and the fellow Filipinos who encouraged her.
We don’t need to go very far to do these things. Let’s not miss out on the Irises among us who need the touch of God in their lives. Let’s open our eyes to see the missions field we are already in.
Indeed, missions begins at home. Let’s go forth and bless the nations right where we are!