I neglected my rose garden, and the weeds grew unattended for three months. The weeds were so large that they towered over most of the rose bushes. In some cases, the bushes had actually died, and I did not know it because I could not see them for the weeds. Within the thick underbrush, bugs ran rampant and many of the leaves of the bushes that managed to live, were chewed up and ragged. It looked like a weed patch and not a rose garden at all. I had to make a choice to either mow it down or try to pull out the weeds, so set out to eliminate the weeds and discover how many bushes were still alive. I hate weeding. Stooping hurts my back and my knees. My hands cramp from the constant gripping and pulling. Ants bite me and flying insects buzz around my face and in my ears. Sweat drips in my eyes, dirt covers my clothes and I am generally miserable. The worst thing is looking ahead as I go and knowing that I have so much more area to do. I bend and stretch and pull and yet, only one small section gets done. If I keep my head down and focus on one small section at a time, the work seems easier. I started in one corner and after about four hours had done one half of the garden. I had to quit to get ready for a party, but if I had had my way, I would still be out there. I knew once I stopped, it would be hard to find the time to finish. Now, I have one half done and one half still full of weeds. I almost regretted even starting the work. It might have been better to have it completely neglected than what is left mocking me. Sometimes, I tell myself the same thing about being a witness for God. I think of all the people all across the world who need to know about Him, and it is just too big of a task to undertake. This verse could be written, “be my witnesses in your county, your state, your nation and your world.” If I remember that God tells me to start in my Jerusalem, my community first, the mission is not so overwhelming. My neighbor is sick; I can take him a meal. The child across the street would love to go to church with me. The woman down the street needs a friend and a listening ear. I can go halfway across the world, and that is great. But I can also stay right here at home to be a beacon of hope to hurting people all around me. Don’t think of missionaries as only those who live in the far reaches of the earth. Start with the area that is right in front of you and be a witness to God’s redeeming and powerful love right in your own backyard.