We are diving in this week by answering the first important question: Why? Why do we need to send missionaries to reach the lost around the world? Why does the church need to be part of the fabric of a missionary’s life? Why is important to support the mission when things are going well and when suffering abounds? It is by answering these questions that God called me overseas to begin ministry, but we need the answers to produce longevity and health to weather the storms of mission life.
The diagram from the book helps to outline a general timeline for the life of a missionary and has been a fairly accurate representation of our lives so far:
In order to better understand why we need help from our senders I want to share how you all have helped us so far. So we are going to focus on Departure through Clear Vision Regained (D-F).
The last two years have been tumultuous as many of you already know. Many Western missionaries have pre-established cultures of sending local missionaries overseas long term and short term. We were blessed with being surrounded by church communities that had a passion for community outreach and discipleship but had not yet fully developed a structure for supporting international partners. So after a year of support raising we were only half funded and by faith went trusting that God would provide no matter what. We just didn’t know all that “no matter what” entailed.
Over the last two years: We haven’t lived in one place for longer than 6 months and usually for no more than one, our electrical breakers blew up in Annie’s face, our water would shut off for days at a time, our internet will turn off for days at a time, Annie got pregnant that turned a 2 month trip into a 1 year trip, Kyrie was born with a rare unforeseeable non-genetic birth defect, we spent half the year on separate continents, the insurance cancelled Kyrie’s surgery three days before it was planned, and, oh yeah, the second day we came to Lebanon the first time, Davey stopped breathing for 5 minutes after a seizure and didn’t wake up for 6 hours.
So you could say that reality set in. In fact reality came like a tidal wave and crushed what was supposed to be the honeymoon period. Seeing as we spent our actual honeymoon leading a mission trip to Detroit, MI it seems fitting. The only reason we are still on the field and beginning to regain a clear vision for the future is because of our sending team.
When Annie was stuck in the states dozens of people gathered around her to care for her and throw her an unexpected baby shower (the only event in our lives we didn’t plan ourselves). When Davey went to the hospital, hundreds of people broke out in prayer for days and continued to Skype us through the worst days following. Over the last year we didn’t lose one supporter no matter how long the insurance company made us stay waiting for a surgery that would never happen. This is unheard of in many mission support communities.
We need you to help us. The ministry here depends on your help and support. Many of you have helped disciple us for years upon years. Our gratitude in ineffable and we are asking you to continue this love and affection even though we are far away.
Jesus frequently uses questions to help us understand His teachings. Each week we will have three questions for personal reflection. Use these to help guide and challenge your own personal application for the section.
- In what ways do you feel part of cross-cultural missions by being a sender of missionaries?
- Who are those in your church & community having to adapt to a new culture?
- How can you be Christ’s hands and feet in the lives of those who have been entered your church & community
If you missed last week’s Introduction Post CLICK HERE. Each Thursday we will post the next chapter for a total of 8 weeks of posting. CLICK HERE to purchase Serving as Senders from Amazon.