Bonnie, a mother of one in her early twenties joined my home Bible study. She witnessed to friends and family with missionary zeal and arrived at every study enthusiastic for Jesus and eager to learn. At some point after our group stopped meeting because several of the women, including myself, returned to work, Bonnie drifted away from the Lord. Her faith sat on the back burner unattended for a long time.
More than twenty years passed. Then one morning I answered the phone. “Hi. It’s Bonnie.” Enthusiasm rippled through her voice. “I just wanted you to know that I’ve come back to the Lord. I’m in town and I have so much to tell you. Can I come over?” And just like that, as if no time had passed, Bonnie walked through my door and into my living room. Always forthright and honest, she told me, “God’s been speaking to me for years but I was too stubborn to listen. Then, one day I was driving by this church and I knew I had to go there and get right with God.”
That afternoon in my living room, I learned of Bonnie’s ministry to the Karen people of Myanmar (Burma). The church she attends, because of its ties to missions in Burma, attracts many Karen immigrants to Canada. After years of dormancy, I felt the beat of Bonnie’s missionary heart once more.
“I help them get settled in the church and in the community, take them to appointments, drive them around the city to find apartments. Then, I bring them home and cook for them,” she said. She also throws birthday parties, helps guide people through difficult paper work, provides a shoulder to lean on and assists with Bible study. With the heart of a mother, Bonnie nourishes these Karen families by opening her heart and her home.
Most missionaries travel to foreign lands. Others stay put and a foreign land comes to them. Bonnie is a stay-put missionary. She’d be the last to give herself this title but, in my view, her love for the Karen people and her work amongst them qualifies her as a missionary.
Bonnie returned to God and found He had faithfully waited for her. And then He gave her the same love for people she had when she first served Him. Her story parallels those of first-century Christians who took the message of Jesus everywhere they went.
Do you have a missionary’s heart but feel frustrated by lack of opportunity? Look around. Perhaps, like Bonnie, you’ll find a mission field right on your door step.