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World Missions Summit

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World Missions Summit

World Missions Summit

We have had an amazing opportunity this past week.  Every couple of years we attend a World Missions Summit for University students.  Students are given the chance to rub shoulders with missionaries from all around the world and to be inspired to consider serving overseas themselves.  The theme is “Give a year, pray about a lifetime.”  For me, it’s a real highlight of our job to be able to inspire and encourage Christian students to seek God’s will for their lives.

I love those “light bulb moments” when students catch the vision of missions when “I could never do that” turns into “I could do that”.  Even just being more open to the possibility of being called by God is a huge step for some of these kids.  Many of them have an idea of what they want to do with their lives, and laying down their dreams to be available to God is a scary thing.

I remember being in college and just having the end in my sights.  I just wanted to be done, to finally be a grown-up and let real life begin.  Of course, we did not have the kinds of opportunities that these kids had.  Missions was something that youth groups did once in a while or professional missionaries did for their whole lives, but the idea of taking a year out of your life and serving overseas was not on my radar any more than joining the Peace Corps was an option for me.  I just wanted to graduate and start life.

So for me, this is amazing that students would even be open to the idea of taking a year out of their lives and investing in something bigger than their career.  For many of these kids, this decision could change the trajectory of their lives forever.  Some of these kids will go out for a year, fully expecting the commitment to only consume one year, and find that God has another plan for their lives.  Some of them will abandon their career plans and give themselves to becoming God’s hands and feet and voice of love to a hurting and broken world.  This week could change kids’ lives.

Yes, this week also has the benefits of being like a family reunion for us missionaries (we have reconnected with so many beloved friends from all around the world!), but it’s really about the students.  We have a window of opportunity in which to expose them to a bigger world and to inspire them to think less about themselves and more about the lost.  We have this great chance to change the future.  Dang, I love my job!

All those university students committing to give a year and pray about a lifetime.

All those university students committing to give a year and pray about a lifetime.

I guess it’s a Niche-Thing

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My sister and I are complete opposites.  The other day I was on the phone with her and she said something that made me laugh.  She works in the President’s office at a major University.  She was telling me about the qualifications that she looks for in students that she’s going to hire in office positions.  She said they have to have this innate quality of “Schmoozability” which she defined as “looking sharp and knowing how to turn on the personality.”  

She said you have to have this quality if you’re going to work around people of power.  She said it’s just the way a person presents themselves that makes them appealing to powerful people.  It’s an innate quality.  A girl came into her office asking about a position.  She had major bed head and a huge nose ring.  My sister didn’t even look at the girl’s application or qualifications.  She said, “No we aren’t hiring.”  The girl just didn’t have that Schmoozy quality.

I said, “Oh, I’d slit my wrists if I had to kiss up to powerful people all day!  More likely what would happen would be that I would smack someone across the face for thinking too highly of himself and then I’d get fired.”  We laughed.  I said, “I guess I don’t have Schmoozability, so what does that make me?  Go ahead and say it… dirty hippie!  Go ahead, I know you’re thinking it.”  We were almost in tears laughing, by now!

“Nooooo!  That’s not what I meant!!”  She protested.  But it was too late.  The filter had failed.  I wasn’t cut out for a position of power.

“I guess I’m JUST a missionary.  I don’t have to look sharp for anyone, right?”  I teased.

We laughed, “It’s just a niche thing, I guess.” She smoothed it over… very schmoozy-like.

Never mind.  That’s why I don’t work in the corporate world.  That’s never, EVER appealed to me.  I much rather prefer professions that are creative, out-of-the-box, and meaningful in the grand scheme of things.  I like helping the underdog get a leg up.  I love teaching.  I love serving quietly in my own little way.  I love not having a boss who hovers over me and tells me what to do.

My sister and I are just so different.  Schmoozing just feels… disingenuous.  Like a politician.  I can’t imagine that this is a quality that anyone would admire or desire or cultivate.  I’ve always said I’d never make a good politician’s wife or ambassador’s wife.  Number one, I’m super Klutzy.  Number two, I’m not schmoozy enough.  Number three, I admit it… I do have some hippie tendencies.  Not gonna lie to you, I like the clothes.

I don’t know why the President didn’t want to hire us! We’re awesome!