just returned from a quick visit to New York City where in three days, I think I walked about 643 miles. Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration. It was probably more like 64 miles — or maybe just 6 — but whatever it was, my feet hurt. And I will say this about those hardy New York City commuters: they just might have the best calf muscles in the entire country.
Going to the grocery store is another big issue in NYC. Shopping is determined by a mathematical formula involving the weight of your items, the distance you have to carry them, and how many steps you have to climb to get to your apartment. My lovely niece Alexandra (living in Manhattan) said it this way, “Going to get groceries is not a problem unless you need milk and a watermelon.”
Here in Miami, we drive everywhere. Going to the grocery store is easy. We fill the wobbly wheeled carts as full as we want, put the bags in our comfortable cars and drive back home before the ice cream melts.
My quick visit to NYC reminded me of why our national missionaries and pastors are so effective in their communities. They are used to the “long walks” and subway rides. They fully understand their community and culture and all the nuances.
nd mostly, they understand the people, their attitudes, beliefs and struggles.
I’ll never forget a car ride to visit one of our national missionaries in Cuba. He, his wife, and their newborn baby attended one of our Bible conferences. We wanted to visit their home before leaving, so hailed a taxi and off we went. It took us over 30 minutes by car to get to their humble little house. “How did you get to the conference?” I asked amazed. They looked at me a bit strangely and said with a shrug and a smile, “We walked.”
And there you have it. A national missionary vs. me — the “international missionary.” I was humbled and amazed. God had called them to a ministry in a community where I would be moaning and groaning all day long. But they were enthusiastic and joyful. Even when it meant making a 90-minute walk over rough dirt roads, in the heat, while pushing a stroller.
According to national surveys, the average cost for one traditional missionary is roughly $52,000 a year. The average annual cost for a LOGOI national missionary, on the other hand, is $60.
A LOGOI national missionary is someone who already lives there, already speaks the language, is already in ministry, and is used to long walks. God has led them to a specific ministry in their community — from teaching small group Bible studies to helping unwed mothers to prison ministries to planting a new church. Through on-the-job Bible training and resources, our role at LOGOI is to help “equip God’s people to do His work and build up the church, the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12).
So, instead of $52,000 a year per missionary, it costs LOGOI $60. To put that in perspective, you can support four (4) national missionaries for $20 a month. Four separate $150 donations spread out over the year helps equip ten (10) national missionaries.
I couldn’t help but smile as we pulled into the driveway back in Miami after our quick NYC visit. My nice pickup truck was waiting to take me wherever I needed to go. I almost felt guilty as I drove to the grocery store later in the day for a few supplies. Of course, my calf muscles will never be as nice as those New Yorkers… or our national missionaries.