The MISSION in Missionaries: An Opportunity You May Not Have Considered, Part 1

A few weeks ago, I was given the opportunity by Mission Network News to write an article on missions. MNN posted my article here under their blogs (thanks Katey Hearth!) I have also posted the first part out of three of the unedited edition here below. Hope it’s a blessing to you!

Some time ago, I read an article entitled, “What Missionaries Don’t Tell You.” The writer shared a trial he and his wife, Pam, faced when he served as a missionary youth pastor in Panama in the early 1970s. When Pam began experiencing severe complications in the third trimester of her pregnancy, the couple found themselves in a difficult situation as she was forced to spend weeks in a local hospital. Her husband tried to be brave for her, but at the same time he would silently endure his own agony as the father of a child he might never get to hold. The author shared what had helped them cope during this trying stretch of their lives was the presence of those in the body of Christ who reached out to them. People like Marie, who became like a mother to Pam in her troubled pregnancy; Vicki, who essentially trained the missionary couple to birth the baby naturally; and Claude and Gordon, who showed up to the couple’s trailer one night, envelope of money in hand, ready to help pay for inevitable hospital bills.

It is easy to think of missionaries and evangelists as super Christians who never let anything get them down. However, like any Christian, missionaries experience emotional pain, rejection, health issues, financial shortfalls, spiritual warfare, and of course, their own daily sin with which they have to battle. These life issues are exacerbated by an Enemy who would rather see individuals destroyed than saved from their sins (John 10:9-10), and who will do all in his power to stall the progression of the Gospel message, including trying to eliminate the messenger.

There is an evident need to minister to those who are giving of their time, lives, and families to preach the Gospel. Some missions organizations provide counselors and medical personnel to aid mission workers in the spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical aspects of their lives while in the field. Others offer housing and pastoral care to furloughed missionaries while they take some much-needed time off for refreshment.

But what about the rest of us, the laypeople? We have the privilege as blood-bought brothers and sisters in Christ of bearing one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:2). Does not the responsibility of loving and caring for each other depend on us, as the household of faith (Gal. 6:10), since we are all members of Christ’s body?…

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5 thoughts on “The MISSION in Missionaries: An Opportunity You May Not Have Considered, Part 1

  1. Exactly! Sometimes I don’t know whether to laugh or cry about the “Super Christian” view, I know full well that missionaries are not necessarily that.

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    • I used to think that too, Seth, but being around around missionaries helped change that for me (I don’t mean that in a negative way, LOL). Listening to them share about their struggles made me realize they face and endure the same exact things every Christian does, including temptation and the numerous emotions that just come from living. We each need God’s strength and guidance ,and thinking that missionaries are “stronger” is not true and actually may be harmful to missionaries and missions work. I am beginning to recognize that God chooses the weak things of this world to shame the wise. If every missionary or Christian were naturally strong or wise, then where is the power of God? Jesus must be put at the forefront of sharing the Gospel, or else men will become the focus.

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      • I would say perhaps we may face an even harder struggle many times, as there are a few major differences that make it harder. First is that most missionaries do not have a group of mature believers that can help them by being with them often and encouraging them. I am not talking about other team members, but often they do not have a solid church of mature believers until much later, and I know at least for me, I sure miss having a church with more people. Secondly the devil really attacks missionaries more, not that he does not attack all Christians, but a good picture is a lion with a zebra that it killed. If you want to get that zebra away from the lion, do you think he will just give it to you? No! That is like missions, we must strive through the power of the Lord to take that prey away from the devil.
        Thirdly, oftimes in the missionfield, (such as here) There is much witchcraft and demonic activity, and as a result missionaries are attacked, and as referenced above, the lion does not want to let go.
        That being said, we are not “Super Christians” and this we need much more the prayers of others to withstand the attacks of the enemy.

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      • Great points Seth and I’m glad you brought them up. I thought about this since I’m considering going into missions on a more full-time scale, and the stronger spiritual warfare is definitely something to think about. I know God will give me the strength to fight off the enemy, but keep me in your prayers that no matter what happens, I will be faithful to him and my relationship with him will only grow stronger in the midst. I have part 2 coming up soon if you want to read it, so stay tuned! 🙂

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      • Yes! It is a big thing, the devil’s assaults do come much harder. The Lord does give the strength, but so often the devil’s tactics are so varied, and he comes at such varied angles.
        I will pray for you though. Thanks for praying for us!

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