Austin and Lydia are part of the World Wide Witness program at ACU, which entails taking a class on missions, cultural sensitivity, and spiritual discipline, and then going live with missionaries or another- culture Christians overseas for the summer, a semester, or even a year. As a joke, Will started calling them “the witnesses” and everyone has kind-of taken the nickname and run with it, as in “Can I get a witness… to help with this?” Sometimes David calls them “the victims.” Both nicknames are apropos at times, but I’ve been thinking about their being witnesses. First of all, the fact that they wanted this experience, sought it out and worked for it, witnesses to God’s calling on their lives. Their parents’ faith and trust to let them come witnesses that their confidence is in God and that they have raised their kids to follow Him boldly. The fact that people from their churches back home have given to them financially witnesses that God is generous and that He has provided faithful saints to hold them up and encourage them. When they go out and meet people in town and help with different activities, they are witnesses of the love and care of Christ.
On the flip side, I feel very “witnessed” this summer. Someone is observing how I treat my kids and my husband, how I take care of my home, how long those breakfast dishes stay beside the sink, what I feed my people, how we spend our money, what I say after a school meeting, how I listen in church, the words I use when I am frustrated with a child, how I prepare for my school classes, what I do at night to unwind, how I talk about other missionaries, how we act when we are tired, how long our family stays in its pjs on a Saturday. You name it, someone outside of our family sees it. It is a good exercise for anyone. Just imagine someone is there watching you as an example of Christian behavior wherever you are and see if you change things. I really do love Jesus and I want to demonstrate something true about Him. I have certainly failed time and again. This is not the first nor the last time that someone has been watching us, or you in your daily life. Please pray for God to put a guard over my mouth and my thoughts and for Him to shine through in some real way to encourage these witnesses.