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?…