When I was in college, I had my heart set on a summer job at a Christian camp. It was the next state over, it was all summer long, and it seemed like the perfect way to strengthen my faith and help others.
I just knew this was the mission field for me: I love young people and being outdoors, and I know that even kids whose parents send them to a Christian summer camp have major struggles with owning their faith. I felt sure I could help them, that I would help them.
A camp representative came to my college campus; I filled out the application and did an interview. It seemed like God had held up this opportunity for me, and all I had to do was go through the steps. But I didn’t get the job.
What now, God? I asked, feeling like I had failed Him. I found myself waiting tables at a restaurant in the next town over from my hometown, living back home with my mom and two younger brothers and sister. Guess my dream of having a job that allowed me to minister to teens in a new, fun environment was shot down, huh?
Nine years later, I finally have the clarity to see that maybe that restaurant, not the summer camp, was the mission field where God needed me most. That summer, I figured out that as disappointed as I was to be home for the summer, there were people I worked with and waited on who had far less hope and purpose in life than me.
Your Summer Mission — Right Here
Maybe the place that you’re in now—whether it’s a summer job, home with the family, or college classes—feels boring, even disappointing. But it could be exactly where God needs you most. It might not look like an exotic mission locale, but you need to look at your situation from the eternal perspective: God has a special job that you alone can do because of your talents, the people you’re with, and what you say and do for them and with them.
Look at Paul and Silas, imprisoned for sharing their faith (Acts 16:24ff). That’s the last place they wanted to be. But what were they doing in there? Whining about how unfair this was, about how they had important work to be doing? No, these two men were singing praises to God. And when an angel freed them, Paul and Silas didn’t run and never look back. They stopped the prison guard from killing himself and then shared the Gospel with him.
Because Paul and Silas were constantly mission-minded, they saw this imprisonment as an opportunity to share God’s love. That prison guard and his whole family were baptized and saved that night. Paul and Silas were exactly where God needed them. Prison was their mission field that night.
Everywhere a Mission Field
So look around at your family, classmates, and coworkers. They’re not poverty-stricken, diseased, or half-starved, like the poor souls you encounter on mission trips to developing countries.
But a soul without Jesus is still a dying one, a precious one in the eyes of God, a soul reaching out for hope and purpose. You’ve got the keys to those things. When God gives you an opportunity to sing praises, show mercy, or share the Gospel, take it. It’s your mission.
Only God knows the impact I had on in that restaurant that summer. But I believe now that I was where God needed me then. I don’t know of any souls saved because of me, as Paul and Silas did, but I hope I encouraged some people by serving in my unexpected mission field.