Recently, I was asked to do some photography work for Street Reach - a homeless shelter in Myrtle Beach. During that photo shoot, I had the opportunity to go into the woods where many homeless people live - in tents and makeshift shelters. I took several photos, some video clips and recorded some interviews with those who would speak to me. During that visit, it occurred to me that what I saw was no different than what I had experienced on the mission field in remote Africa or Haiti or any other place where people are very poor and have very little. I saw the same faces, the same living conditions, the same needs…but I also saw the same hope and desire to rise up out of that place. I saw the same opportunity for prayers to be answered…if they only had confidence in lifting that prayer. I saw the same opportunity to share hope in Jesus Christ…if only they could understand who He was and that He has their answers. I felt just like I was walking around the villages in southern Zambia 9000 miles away - in a place where hope lies in the challenge that missionaries will go there to share the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. I saw in the woods of Myrtle Beach…that very same mission field.
My guess is, there are places like these homeless tent “villages” in every city in South Carolina, in Tennessee, in America, in Europe…and throughout the world. These people are just waiting for a missionary to come along and share some Good News.
In Matthew 28:19, Jesus assigned us to be missionaries.
In Acts 1:8, Paul explained that our assignment could be in our back yard or in a far away land.
So, as you contemplate your calling, you may be thinking, “I would love to share the Gospel like those who go on the mission field…” Consider the possibility that the mission field begins in our very own back yard…and imagine that just around the block, there could be a family living in a 2-man camping tent trying to get ready for the cold winter without any heat…without any money…desperate and lonely… without the knowledge that there is life-saving hope in our savior - Jesus Christ.
The Jesus Film is one of the greatest evangelism tools of our time. It is the story of Jesus Christ in the form of a movie translated in the local language. It is amazing to see the villagers come forward to answer the call to salvation after viewing of this movie.
That gave me an idea - to show the Jesus Film to the homeless…Just because we live in America - a Christian nation, does not mean that we all know the story of Jesus.
The Jesus Film is 2-1/2 hours long. About 30 folks were there to watch the beginning of the movie and by the time it was over, there were still about 30 folks to help clean up while talking about what they had just seen. Several commented that the story of Jesus life was always a mystery to them…and for the first time they thought they understood what is was all about.
I trust that someone left that night with a new idea about where to place their hopes and dreams. Perhaps they will get another chance to learn more about the saving grace of our Lord. I believe they are just waiting for a missionary to come along….
I woke up one day and discovered God wanted me to quit what I was doing for me...and start doing something for Him.