I’m the lamest missionary.
That’s pretty much how I see it this morning.
Hudson Taylor left England on a boat for China. When he said goodbye to his family (Father, Mother and beloved sister), he left with the understanding that he may very well never see them again. The proceeding suffering he experienced so that the undreached (NOT underreached … truly unreached) peoples in China could hear the Gospel is actually quite astounding. His persistance in language learning and stubborn refusal to quit is impressive at many levels. He traveled by rickshaw in heat and cold to villages and townships in the interior of China so that
At last week’s worship service at Cornerstone Church of All Nations, we were reminded of the Moravian missionaries who left Hernhutt, Germany and sold themselves into slavery in order to reach the African slaves of the Caribbean Islands of St. Tomas and St. Croix. While there is some possible “Christan Urban Legend” around the details of this event … the fact that these guys were willing to do such a thing, and more than likely died in the process, is convicting, as well as inspiring.
Missions history is strewn with such tales of hardship, bravery and sacrifice … and I like hearing about such stories. I’ve always liked hearing about such stories. The problem is that I’m not sure how crazy I am about being such a story.
Don’t get me wrong, Mongolia is not an easy place to live. Even my Mongolian friends say that Mongolia is not an easy place to live. It’s a place of harshness, from the climate to the culture. However, I’m not too worried about dying here. It’s true, I might die here. But that could be said of anywhere one might live. I miss my kids a lot … and hate that they live so far away from us. However, modern technology has equalized distances in many ways. While I don’t have the option of road tripping it over to Greenville, SC to see them, FaceTime makes it a lot easier. We have a nice apartment. We have food. We have clothing. Because of driving regulations we had to ride to church in a Russian Purgon yesterday. It really wasn’t that big of a deal, and we have been provided with a Range Rover to drive around in on normal traffic days.
I don’t suffer so much. My “missionary life” will not make for interesting missionary biography in the annuls of mission history. And there’s a real part of me that is very okay with that. The little bit of pain that I have suffered in my life is enough for me. If God does indeed only give us what we can handle … well, I’m a fairly lame missionary in those regards.
Paul was not lame. He suffered deeply for advance of the Gospel (like Hudson Taylor, the Moravian Brethren, and many others who followed him). For me it comes back to embracing Christ, and whatever comes our way because we follow Christ. Being content with little or much. Loving Jesus more than anything else is the important issue. To live - Christ. To die - gain … because that means more Christ.
I need this reminder today, as I enter into another week of work and service and following Jesus.
And I am unashamedly happy I don’t often have to drive a Russian van around for great distances and even happier that I don’t ever have to travel by rickshaw.