. . . last Sunday night. That’s not an unusual occurrence. Several times a year we have visiting missionaries – some going through deputation, some we’ve supported and while they are home on furlough.
Each them brings a bit of the calling and they share that with us. I remember so many of them! They are all different – yet alike in so many ways. So often we can’t even mention where they are serving because of laws within their country of service. Oh, the citizens are responsive and growing in faith – but the governments decline to accept them as missionaries. Reminds me of some of Paul’s travels:
But their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him. Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket. (Acts 9:24-25 KJV)
No, most of our missionaries do not have enemies “laying await”, but one does. His name, location, work absolutely cannot be mentioned here. In his situation, it could cost his life. Still, he tells of people who want to hear God’s word:
And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is? For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean. (Acts 17:19-20 KJV)
As missionaries from around the world visit our small country church, I think of our world as seen from the moon in “Earthrise”, God’s creation containing all mankind. And, He has a message for all mankind. Paul spoke that message in a number of places. To one, having some confusion, he taught:
For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. (1 Corinthians 14:33 KJV)
The foundation of his message didn’t change. It was given to him by Jesus, a call to be a missionary:
To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. (Acts 26:18 KJV)
He spoke of where he gave this message and what the hearers were to do:
But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance. (Acts 26:20 KJV)
Missionaries have continued to do this same work from that time to this – with support from our local churches. They need us, just as we need them, to complete the work God has set for them to do. It’s a partnership. Financing first comes to mind, but that’s only a small portion. Of greater help are prayers.
Brethren, pray for us. (1 Thessalonians 5:25 KJV)
Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: (2 Thessalonians 3:1 KJV)
Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly. (Hebrews 13:18 KJV)
Funding is important, give as the Lord blesses, but prayer sustains both the sent and the sending.