Earlier today I went to a shopping plaza in another village with the rest of my missionary brothers and sisters. We had a few things that we all had to get and since I didn’t need anything I thought I’d accompany my missionary sister Pam as she went store to store getting her various needs. The last thing she needed to buy was construction paper for our formation classes so went over to what would be called a dollar store in the US. We couldn’t find construction paper anywhere but I found some white paper that seemed to work. While Pam was pondering whether or not to get the paper I ran down to the end of the isle to check out the toys!
I really enjoy toys, who doesn’t right? I grew up surrounded by a bunch of boys so whenever I see a dart gun, a bow and arrow set, or any other type of toy weapon I get really excited and will most likely purchase it. As I walked over to the toy section, I looked down and saw the coolest toy dart gun sniper rifle ever! I picked it up immediately and all the many ways I would use it flashed through my head. I started thinking about how instead of hitting my missionary brothers with pillows when we goof around that I could shoot them with a plastic sticky dart! I thought about how I could line up pop cans and shoot them for target practice or just shoot at the windows and try and get the darts to stick. I thought about all the ways this toy gun would bring joy to my heart and how this toy gun would be the perfect toy to have in our mission house. I wanted to buy this gun. I wanted it so bad!
Normally I’d buy something like this on the spot but, as I stood there holding the gun, I started thinking about being a missionary and how the money in my pocket wasn’t my own. As a missionary, I rely completely on divine providence. That means that all the money that I live off of for the year is given to me by other people. This toy dart gun only cost four dollars, and in my mind it was well worth the money. I wanted it really bad!
As I stood there I started thinking about how I could justify spending my mission partners money on a toy gun. I thought about how some of my mission partners are close friends of mine and how they would be perfectly fine with me spending their money on a toy gun. At that thought, I picked up the gun and decided that I was going to buy it. I grabbed the gun and was only able to take three steps before my missionary conscience kicked in. I realized that I couldn’t buy the toy gun.
In that moment, I began to think about my mission partners who gave out of their own poverty to support me in my mission. Many people just gave me a handful of change or a couple dollars because that’s all that they could afford to give. Although I knew in my head that my good friends, who gave me money, would be fine with me using it on a toy gun, I knew in my heart that I couldn’t buy it. There were so many people who gave from their poverty and stretched themselves thin to support me that there was no way that I could waste this money on a toy, no matter how much I wanted it.
A lot of people gave me financial donations to help finance my mission year. Not that buying a toy gun is wrong, but, what kind of missionary would I be if I used their hard earned money to purchase it. Like I said earlier, many people stretched themselves thin by donating money to me this year. Only now am I starting to realize how much God is going to stretch me as I learn how to spend their money wisely. I only hope that I can be a good steward of the money that was given to me and I will be praying daily for the grace to know how to use their money wisely.