Recently, I read a leaflet from a missionary whose work I admire. They said when they were first called, they were scared to step out and move far away from all that was familiar. They finally did go in faith and have had a successful ministry overseas since then. The story made me wonder how many people feel the call to missions but never overcome the fear. That led me to the thought that the mission field is all around us, right where we are. Some people are truly called to go to certain countries, but for those who aren’t given a specific assignment, I have a suggestion that will satisfy that yearning to do God’s bidding. Become a foster parent.
Matthew 25:31-40 says: “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
These verses describe what foster parents do. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard of youth being taken into a foster home literally hungry and thirsty, with no clothes other than what they are wearing. They need shelter and foster parents provide it, inviting these young strangers in. So often Biblical passages have to be interpreted in light of symbolism but this parable is pretty clear. And it describes being a foster parent.
If you feel like you might have a call to missions, or have a general “Gee I wish I could help someone, but I just don’t know what to do” feeling, call the nearest Bair office and find out how to become a foster parent. Go to www.bair.org then click on the Locations tab for contact information. Bair provides training, ongoing support and reimbursement for each child’s expenses. More importantly than that, God has promised, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.”