What would happen if we honestly viewed our family as our mission field? How could that lead us to love the people in our house better? In this interview with Gisele Marie, Squad Leader for World Race: America, shares about how the COVID-19 quarantine led her and her squad to focus less on “outreach” to the community and more on “inreach” to the people right in front of them.
WR: Hey Gisele! How are you doing today?
Gisele: I’m doing so good! I’m really excited to be on a call with you. It feels really good to see your face.
WR: Aww. It feels good to be seen (laughs). For those of us that haven’t met you yet, could you tell us who you are and where you are?
Gisele: My name is Gisele Marie and I’m the Suad leader for World Race: America 2020. We’re still on the field and right now we’re in Kensington, Philidelphia.
WR: Can you tell us more about what World Race: America is?
Gisele: The vision behind World Race: America is to empower brothers and sisters in Christ within our very own nation to see that the United States is, in fact, also a mission field. We firmly believe that the Lord wants you to minister and to spread the Gospel where you’re planted. Sometimes, you’re planted here in your own nation. Just because you’re not overseas doesn’t mean you can’t serve the Kingdom. You can serve the Kingdom right where you are. So, we travel to different states, partner with different ministries, evangelize, spread the Gospel, and just empower the people that we meet to love the Lord and pursue their calling here.
WR: How has the anxiety around being quarantined affected you guys?
Gisele: I think, at first, it was pretty difficult because we are a society that’s used to being on the go. Even with World Race: America, we have a full schedule, we have ministry 5 times a week, and we’re doing outreach. Then, suddenly, it gets to the point where you no longer can do outreach due to the quarantine or we can no longer have youth groups here because of the 10 people rule. A lot of the things we had scheduled and planned suddenly stopped. You kind of sit there and think to yourself “Well… are we done?” because there is nothing else to do.
It’s that time that you have to sit with the Lord and ask “Lord, what can we still do for you even though we’re not on the go?” It was interesting that the Lord showed us this is a time not for “outreach” but for “inreach”. We’re building up the church from the inside out and focusing on ministering to one another.
I think it’s so much easier to serve “the lost”, the homeless, foster children, or widows because that makes sense to us as Christians. But, when it comes to actually empowering and encouraging your fellow brother or sister that’s right in front of you, that’s not neccessarily noticable or “lead” to do. The truth is we’re all lead to encourage one another. God’s word even says,
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing”
-1 Thessalonians 5:11
We all kind of just looked at each other and said, “Well, you’re my ministry now”.
WR: So, what does “inreach” practically look like?
Gisele: We’re still consistently doing team times. We still have time where we are intentional with one another and spend time together as a team. We will have nights of prophetic words over one another. We do nights of worship where we will listen to the Lord and then share what He is saying and speak it over each other. We take time to pray for one another, write down what we feel God is telling us, then leave it as a surprise on their pillow.
It’s also about just being there for one another. Let’s sit down and watch Project Runway together. Let’s sit on the bed together and read in silence. We don’t even have to talk, but just be in each other’s presence. Right now, it’s easy to isolate ourselves. We think about resting with the Lord and we think that means being by ourselves. Yes, Jesus often went out by himself to go and be with the Father. But, he also LIVED with his disciples and they did life together. So, if we’re going to be disciples of Jesus, we need to reflect the ability and desire to be in each other’s presence. Just don’t leave people alone too often.
WR: So, what advice would you give to those of us asking “What am I supposed to DO with this time?”
Gisele: My favorite question to ask the Lord is “How can I love better?” If your heart is willing, you’d be surprised how He reveals things to you that you wouldn’t know otherwise. I’ve grown really atuned to my squad. I can hear their voice two doors down and know if something is wrong. It’s all because I’ve asked the Lord to teach me how to love them better.
In this case, if you are living at home and it’s just you and your sister, for instance. Ask the Lord how to love her better. Maybe it’s reading scripture out loud to her, maybe it’s inviting her to make brownies together, or maybe it’s just sitting in silence and knowing that you’re in each other’s presence. The Lord will reveal to you ways to love them better because that’s just who He is. He wants His presence magnified and you just have to be willing to invite Him into that space.
Lastly, If you want to know how the Lord loves, go spend time in His word. This is the PERFECT time to go spend time in the word. We really don’t have an excuse anymore. There’s so much time now to sit with the Lord. If you’re having a hard time loving other people, then study Jesus.