“Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, ‘Follow Me.’” (The Ministry of Healing, p. 143).
When we first arrived in our mission field in Mali, we prayed to meet a person of peace who would link us with the people. We started making friends in our neighborhood. I visited the marketplace, shops and political and religious authorities, asking questions about the needs of the community. I met a group of Muslim young men who invited me to join their social club. Should I refuse to associate with these unconverted? Of course not! Though I would not be partaking of any customs and traditions that were against the will of God, I wanted to spend time with these men and build friendships that someday might point them to Christ. So we opened our house to them, cared for their needs and talked about our Savior.
The work of a missionary is multifaceted. There is much we can do—that we must do, that we have been called to do—to reach out. Sometimes it is as basic as providing food, clothes, shelter or education to someone in urgent need. In our social club, I proposed to the other members that we do things to add value to our community, like repairing roads, picking up litter, and so on. In our neighborhood, the roads are in disrepair. I provided some money to the club members, and they bought shovels, hoes and wheelbarrows. I also provided truckloads of dirt to fill potholes. We also organized a soccer tournament with a prize for the winning team.
As missionaries, we have been sent by God to work for others and seek to point them to the promise of hope and restoration we all have in Jesus Christ. There are different ways the Lord can work through us to do this. As we continue His quest for restoration and an abundant life, many people in the community will realize that they need spiritual and moral restoration. “Then saith He unto His disciples, ‘The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few. Pray ye, therefore, the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth laborers into His harvest” (Matt. 9:37, 38).