But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Acts 1:8 (HCSB)
When we think of "missionaries" we tend to think of Anglo Americans moving to exotic places to tell stories from the Bible to savages living in huts. I am not sure that stereotype has been accurate for three decades, but that is often what we think of when using the term.
As America has moved further and further away from its Judeo-Christian heritage, fewer people are attending church, and consequently, fewer are answering the call to go to other nations to share the gospel. Indeed, very few are even willing to go down the street to tell a neighbor about Jesus. Many churches in stuck in a long slow decline. Every year fewer people in our culture identify as Christian. Many church leaders are wringing their hands wondering what to do.
God has a plan to reverse this. He is now bringing missionaries from other nations to America as missionaries. Often the children or grandchildren of people who came to Christ as a result of American missionaries, these internationals increasingly look at America as a place that NEEDS missionaries instead of a place that SENDS missionaries.
In New England, where I have ministered since 1993, I am deeply moved by the presence of godly missionaries who have moved from places like South Africa, Brazil, Nepal, Ecuador, Guatemala and Nigeria to serve as missionaries in America. Though they often begin their ministries by reaching people from their native lands, as soon as they gain mastery of English, they begin reaching out to Americans. A growing number of churches that were once consider "ethnic" are now becoming "multi-lingual." They are creating a new model for how America can be reached with the gospel, and it is led by missionaries from other nations who have answered His call to come to America.
How will we Americans respond to this? We can act arrogant, falsely relying on a Christian heritage that is long distant. We can act indifferent, and simply ignore these international missionaries who have come to our shore. We can respond humbly, thanking God for sending these missionaries to help us reach our nation with the gospel. These are the same responses that American missionaries used to get when we WENT to other nations. Now we have to decide which one we want to give to those who COME from other nations.
As for me and my house, I pray for revival to come to America and if God chooses to use missionaries from other nations to bring that about, then praise His name! The Acts 1:8 challenge was not just given to Americans so we can go to other places. It was also given to Christians in other nations so they can come to America. Let us celebrate God's work, in whatever form He chooses to display it, and rejoice that His powerful gospel being proclaimed in our nation.
Dr. Terry W. Dorsett has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He writes extensively and you can find all of his books at: