A Sense of Mission

  • Susan Ford
  • June 17, 2016
  • Destroyed Church ruin in Antigua3
    Cathedral in Antigua, Guatemala

    For almost as long as I can remember I have been drawn to the stories of great missionaries and even have a treasured collection of the writings of some of these great heroes of the faith. Men and women such as Oswald Chambers, David Brainard, Jim and Elisabeth Elliot, Hudson Taylor, Amy Carmichael, Lilias Trotter, Lillian Trasher, Dr. Livingston, and Gladys Aylward, to name a few.  I have been privileged to be on several mission trips and have helped to lead a few. I have been involved with both home missions and foreign missions.  The next several posts will be mostly about my most recent mission to Guatemala with a team of 30 amazing women. But I want to write a bit about the idea of ‘mission’ and how does mission happen?  I have often told my husband that if something were to happen to him and he proceeded me in death, I would most likely go to the mission field as a single elderly woman hoping to help in some small way. I think, he thinks I am kidding.

    The word mission has many definitions.   The internet dictionary defines mission this way:

    “An important assignment carried out for political, religious, or commercial purposes, typically involving travel. A group of people sent on a mission. An organization or institution involved in a long-term assignment in a foreign country. An operation carried out by a military aircraft. An expedition into space. The vocation or calling of a religious organization, especially a Christian one, to go out into the world and spread its faith. A building or group of buildings used by a Christian mission. A strongly felt aim, ambition, or calling.”

         I particularly love the etymology of the word – from the Latin ‘mittere’ to ‘missio’ to ‘mission’. The word mission is not used until the mid 16th century.  Mittere – denoting the sending of the Holy Spirit into the world. The SO SEND I YOU aspect of mission fascinates me!   My sense of mission is not my vocation for my teaching is my vocation or calling.  But there is an ongoing draw or sense of mission that comes from time to time.
         On our last two days in Guatemala, we were in the city of Antigua – which long ago was a training center for Catholic priests being sent to Central America from Spain. Our hotel dated back to 1524, so you get a sense of just how long ago people first came to that region with a sense of mission!