New Definition of Ministry

I have created a new normal for myself here in Kampong Cham, Cambodia. The phrase, “home is where the heart is” has never felt more like a reality. 

Ministry here is not compartmentalized to my typical expectation of what it means to be a “missionary.” It’s not solely VBS, worship, and painting churches. 
Ministry is doing life. Doing life is ministry. 
Ministry, as I have known it, is being redefined with each moment. It is not confined to the Sunday morning usual — it’s being intentional in the everyday.  
That has become the word of the trip for my team — INTENTIONAL. 
I find ministry in the sticky mud that hugs my dirty feet as I play soccer in the cascading rain, unable to keep my balance due to my uncontrollable laughter. I finding ministry in holding hands with Sokha, a fourteen year old girl, as we walk in the sweltering sun to an overwhelming beautiful lotus pond. I find ministry in adventuring into the dirty waters of the rice fields, trying to mimic a hard-working, elderly woman’s planting technique. 
“God is always doing 10,000 things in your life, and you might be aware of three of them.“ 
— John Piper
God is always present, but we often choose to allow our comfortable and luxurious distractions to obscure our awareness of Him. 
Being here, stripped away from my lifelong definition of “home,” I no longer have many of the roadblocks that alter my vision from God’s presence in life’s everyday moments. 
Because of this, I see God everywhere.
Without bounds.
Without restraints.
Without preconceived notions. 
To be honest, I really struggled with this for the first couple of days. I wanted to plan, plan, plan and go, go, go. When can I lead worship? When can we start planning a VBS? Why are there moments of my day that aren’t packed with what I have always perceived as “ministry?” 
Isn’t that my title? Missionary? Isn’t that my job here? 
Slowly but surely the Lord has reached in and silenced these haughty thoughts with an improved mindset toward ministry. 
I don’t need an agenda, task, or curriculum to show the love of Christ. 
Ministry isn’t getting caught up in the “doing” — it’s breathing into the “being.” It’s finding the divine in the simple. It’s serving like you’re serving a King no matter the situation or circumstance. 
My God is not limited to a church building, service, or program. 
My God is EVERYWHERE. Ministry is life and life is ministry. 
“Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people.” 
-Ephesians 6:7
I will not be surrounded by the sweet, slow, authentic way of the Cambodian people when I go home — the simplicity of the gospel personified through contagious smiles, games, and intentionality. 
But, that doesn’t mean my ministry will return to a box that I pull out on Sundays, at conferences, and in Bible study.  
Ministry is looking at my waitress at Waffle House as a human being and choosing to hold an intentional conversation with her. Ministry is calling up an old friend from high school and making plans to catch up. Ministry is cleaning up behind the scenes when no one is there to sing my praises. 
Our God is more than the mindless rituals we often limit Him to. 
My God is alive, and as long as I am, I vow to choose to see Him. 
My first week on the field has taught me to not over complicate the gospel. It’s really quite simple. Ministry is a way of life. It’s an attitude. 

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