“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 20:19-20
When someone finds out I’m spending this summer on a six week mission trip in France their usual response is “Why France?” It’s a simple question, but I have a hard time answering it because I honestly don’t fully know. God put France on my heart this past year, but I’m not completely sure why He wants me to go there.
Nevertheless, I’m going to attempt to explain what I do know about why I’m going to France. The best place to start the explanation is last summer when I was on another mission trip in South Carolina. While I was there I learned a lot, but the biggest thing I took away from the summer was a better understanding of God’s heart for the world. At that point, I began to consider going on an international mission trip this summer. Although I ultimately decided my desire came more from a selfish desire to travel than to spread the gospel. So, I concluded I’d probably be staying home this summer.
However, when I got back home going on an international mission trip was still on my mind. I had a few weeks before school started and I spent a lot of that time with God praying about this coming summer. Around that time, I started thinking about France. France initially seemed like just a passing thought. Going to France was never something that I wanted to do, let alone something that I ever thought I would be passionate about. Like I said, I thought it would just be a passing thought, that I would soon decided to go somewhere else or nowhere at all.
Yet, God repeatedly found ways to keep France on my mind and in my heart. Over the next few months, I prayed about it a lot and talked to many of my most trusted advisors (and really anyone else that would listen). I also started to learn more about the culture and spiritual climate of France from friends and acquaintances who had been there before. Everything that I learned strengthened the desire that God had given me, but I still wasn’t sure.
I really wanted to go, but I still had doubts. France is expensive and support raising is hard, another summer without a real job would take a toll on my bank account, I’ve only left the country once before and never for this long, and I don’t speak French. I honestly could write pages full of reasons that I came up with not to go. Nonetheless, despite the numerous reasons that I thought I shouldn’t go, I still did decide to go to France this summer.
Only God knows most of the reasons that I am going, but one that I do know is something that I kept coming back to over and over again. Every time I thought about France or prayed about going I’d end up at this: If I don’t go, who will? My heart breaks when I hear that less than 2% of French people are evangelical Christians and that most people in France are unreached by the gospel. It breaks even more when I realize how few people even realize how great France’s need for Jesus is.
After God put France on my heart, I had doubts about going myself, but I desperately wanted someone to go. I wanted so badly for someone to bring the gospel to France. I couldn’t stand the thought that there are millions of people in France who will never even hear about Jesus if no one goes there and tells them, but no one else wanted to go. So, I thought, “If I don’t go, who will?”” Will anyone? And if no one does can I live with that? Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8