Damaris Zehner, carrying on Michael Spencer’s Internet Monk blog, wrote this about new mission opportunities…
Have you ever thought you might have a calling to missions? I have a suggestion for you.
I won’t try to convince you that this new field is more deserving or better or more desperate than a hundred others. All mission fields are important. People might get competitive about missions, but how can God compete with himself? He calls different people to different jobs, and it could be that one of you might find your calling here.
“Here” is in rural and small-town America. But don’t come to do vacation Bible school or build a picnic shelter or even start a church.
Most small towns have a church and VBS, and we can build our own picnic shelter. What we need is a grocery store. A doctor’s office. A hardware store. A co-op to package and sell locally grown produce. We need the necessities of life and meaningful employment in a place that feels like home.
My family and I live outside a town of a thousand people in western Indiana. A hundred years ago our town still had a thousand people, but it also had a theater, a grocery store, a general store, two hotels, a high school, an elementary school, a grain terminal, a Carnegie library, and a hardware store. The last four remain. A few years ago the state tried to shut down the little library, but our petition drive was at least temporarily effective. The grain terminal will stay in business, I guess, and so will the elementary school – although several nearby have shut and some children now spend an hour each way on the bus. But our wonderful hardware store, that smells of old wood and nails and oil and paint, with the window display of 19th-century implements and the mannequin legs sticking out of the claw-footed bathtub – it may close when the proprietor gets old.