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In the Mess - On Mission

Ron Brown /Wednesday, August 10, 2022


A wildly dazzling red prom dress appeared recently in national newspapers. Unlike the above image, with a picturesque background, this image shows a Ukrainian senior standing in front of her town’s bombed out school. (You can see this impactful image in this National Post article: "Stunning photo shows Ukrainian high school grad posing in front of school bombed by Russia")

It was graduation season in the Ukraine. The beauty of life, purpose with intention, stood starkly in contrast with the destruction and despair of context. 

As I reflected on the image, I thought how well it captured the state of our world. The daily news cycle is tiring and so negative. Rare does beauty or encouragement appear. Mostly we're getting complaints about life and statements describing victimization. Few are the stories of hope and succeeding in the midst of struggle.

In another way, I saw this image showing how a life on mission keeps moving forward despite surroundings which tempt us to run, hide or like a gopher crawl back into a safety hole, whatever that hole might be for us.

And yes, when things get bad around us, we do remember the verse suggesting the Lord’s soon return ...

“You will hear of wars and rumors of wars but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains” (Matt 24: 6-8 NIV)

And then I balance that thought with a later verse that suggests when the mission has been accomplished and the good news of Jesus reaches the farthest corners of the world, then the Lord will return ...

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matt 24:14).

That verse brings us out of our safety hole to put on our red dress equivalent, ready for mission. I want to be a person on mission, I want to keep moving forward in life with the next thing, despite how all is falling to pieces around me.

So what can we all do this month?

  • Thousands of us stay engaged and praying for unreached people using our Joshua Project app.
  • I engage with people different from me on my street. Three days ago, my Tunisian neighbour called out to me as I was mowing the lawn and we talked on the sidewalk for fifteen minutes about a project he was doing near Tunis. Then because we have a comfortable relationship with each other, he asked if he could borrow my lawn mower.
  • I sent $450 again this month to support colleagues who are on the front lines, who have learned language and culture, and are telling the story of Jesus to the Yazidi in northern Iraq, the Fulani in Senegal and to unreached peoples in North Africa.
  • We are looking for the right opportunity to invite the young Indian couple for supper. Last month they bought a house on our street and seemed pleased when we brought over  banana bread. So, we're already on waving, chatting terms …

The Ukrainian girl's determined spirit beautifully acknowledged a stolen graduation. 

Our context is messy and discouraging in its own way a lot of the time but we too can move forward doing what we were created to do - walk with God in His mission to bring good news to those who have never yet heard of Jesus … until He returns.

Ron Brown is a senior associate with Simply Mobilizing Canada. His recent theology of mission book, ON MISSION: WHY WE GO is available as a free download here:




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