5 Minutes with Evelyne Reisacher

Editor’s Note: At Urbana, Evelyne will be sharing about the joy of serving among Muslims. She recently visited Paris in the wake of the November 13 attacks and shared her reflection at the Fuller Theological Seminary’s Global Reflections Blog.

How do you define missions and what do you mean by it when you say it?

Missions is being faithful witnesses of Christ in the world today. Missions is hearing the call of God to be sent to other people, to share my faith with the people and to also be a light and the salt of the world. Of course, the term means to be sent. Usually, missions includes crossing borders—not necessarily into another country but maybe cross-culturally in other social contexts.

Missions is broader than evangelism; it is also caring for the world. There is a discussion: “Is mission just in word, or is it action?” I think it is the combination of the two because I’ve noticed it in my own life, that if I live according to Jesus’ commands, people are automatically asking questions. We do things that people are not used to seeing or hearing. Even if we are not actually doing it intentionally, we are invited to explain why we are doing things.

Where do you see the need for missions in the world today?

We live in a global world, where the world is so interconnected, but we have not yet found ways to relate in healthy ways. We have so many means for communicating (social media, all of that) and still there are so many conflicts around religion, around culture, around the social issues.

What gives me a lot of joy is the amazing opportunity we have now to see different expressions of the body of Christ around the world. For many centuries, people were very isolated. They didn’t know what was happening, but now we can. And I hope—that as people come together and work together—we will see opportunities to reach people that we have never seen before. Find your opportunities. Don’t just think about how things have been done in the past.

I would like the younger generation to be a prophetic voice, to have something to say from God which brings hope, brings reconciliation, and the good, also, for society. There are many areas of deep suffering where I think the church should be ahead of the game, and not just follow—but ahead of the game with bringing hope.

I would like the younger generation to be a prophetic voice, to have something to say from God which brings hope, brings reconciliation, and the good, also, for society. There are many areas of deep suffering where I think the church should be ahead of the game, and not just follow—but ahead of the game with bringing hope.

In order for this to happen, this generation needs to be very close to God. They need to be involved both in action and meditation; in prayer, studying the word of God in community, in listening. When I’ve studied the word of God with people from different contexts, they’ve raised issues that I didn’t think of because they were in another context. Listening to each other is important, I believe. I think it is very important to have the attitude of listening to the other believer in another context and to hear how they understand and interpret the word.

Was there a turning point in your missional journey?

The very same night as I was praying, saying to God that I want to follow him, I had a very deep sense of being in missions. My understanding of missions at that time was that I had to pack everything and leave and go the end of the world. And so I was always praying that God would send me to the other parts of the world.

I love cultures. God’s creation is amazing. The world is so rich and so beautiful. People are created in the image of God. So I have this curiosity, I have this desire to understand other cultures and to move and cross over to other cultures. Because of the limited story I had heard, I thought I really had to go away and I prepared myself to do that until I met a Muslim background believer in Paris. And suddenly I realized, Wow there are so many, many Muslims living in just the city of Paris. And at that time there were very few believers. And that was missions. That was so much missions for me. But I didn’t know, I didn’t put the word missions on it because it wasn’t overseas.

And suddenly I realized, Wow there are so many, many Muslims living in just the city of Paris. And at that time there were very few believers. And that was missions. That was so much missions for me. But I didn’t know, I didn’t put the word missions on it because it wasn’t overseas.

Not that I didn’t afterwards move and go to many other countries and live in some countries for a short period of time, but I understood that there was a need here and I can listen to this need and be here. God had to change my understanding of what missions meant.

What would you say to participants today? How can they prepare themselves to be at Urbana?

Take time out of your schedule to just sit and ask questions to God. Just reflect a little bit and prepare yourself. Think about what you have done in missions, or about some of your dreams, or even questions you have. Say, “This is a question I have about missions. I don’t have answers.” And maybe journal a little bit. Prepare by opening; starting to think and reflect.

Do the Matthew Challenge ahead of time. Don’t come exhausted, so you can get all you can from the Urbana. Invite other friends while you still have the opportunity to invite other friends. Maybe share it with your church, or maybe friends you have so they can pray for you, as well. But come expecting to be surprised. Be ready to explore and to experience things and to meet people. And pray.

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