Missionaries can be found close to home

By Judy Brandon: Local columnist

Our church’s 75th anniversary is coming up. It was at that church that my father, Dr. Carl Scott, was minster for 25 of the church’s 75-year history. I have many wonderful memories of growing up at the church on Eighth and Hinkle. So in the light of this anniversary, a friend and I were talking about old church days. She recalled one of my past articles on Sunbeams and asked me to tell it again.
Here it is.

When I was a child I was a Sunbeam. We met every Wednesday night and learned astonishing facts about missionaries in far away places. We memorized Scripture about “Go ye therefore and teach all nations.” We made models of the flags from the countries we studied, and wrote John 3:16 in the languages of those countries. We wrote missionaries long letters and were thrilled when we received a letter back from one of them. Sometimes missionaries visited us. Once, I held an African headdress that belonged to a tribal chief in Africa.

I loved missionaries, and as a little girl I thought they had the highest of callings. I was amazed because they were willing to leave their families in America, go to foreign lands, learn a new language, and live among cultures where epidemics, poisonous snakes and wild animals were the norm. Stories of hauling water from creeks and accounts of rides on dusty roads in Jeeps with elephants running behind just made me gasp with wonder. I thought missionaries surely must be special people. After all, who could commit to do something so dangerous and fascinating? To me, that was the pinnacle of a spiritual calling.

So it was when I was a child that I sensed that surely God was calling me to do wonderful things — meet with natives, tell them Bible stories, help them get well, live in hazardous conditions, meander through the brush to villages and start churches and orphanages.

Today, I am far, far away from Africa. God called me in a different direction. I found that as a young woman seeking my calling, childlike plans and aspirations were not necessarily God’s plan for me.

God asked Isaiah, “Who will I send, and who will go?” Isaiah responded: “Here am I, Lord, send me!” (Isaiah 6:8). The calling is just the same, whether a person goes to Africa or Clovis, Amarillo or Korea. The important thing is the calling, and the response to that calling. The response should be, “Here am I, send me.”

The Sunbeams theme is still relevant to me as an adult. The Bible says “Jesus Christ is the true light” (John 1:6), and he was sent from God as a Light into a dark world strapped with sin. Jesus said, “Don’t hide your light! Let it shine for all; let your good deeds glow for all to see, so that they will praise your Heavenly Father.” (Matthew 5:14-16).

We may not be missionaries in faraway places, and we may not make national news as great statesmen, doctors, singers, orators, teachers or writers. Yet we may be the light that God uses no matter who we are or where we are. Take that to heart. Always remember that even a little sunbeam can bring light to a dark room.

Judy Brandon is a Clovis resident. Contact her at: