What comes to mind when you think of the perks of the missionary life?
Going to the beach for our day off? Not having a traditional 9-5 job? Having the opportunity to learn another language?
Over the years, we have found that one of the greatest privileges of the missionary life is being granted the opportunity to meet so many AMAZING people. People you want to be like when you grow up. People who are just visibly filled with God’s Spirit.
Let me introduce you to some of them.
Throughout our ongoing journey of support raising, it has been a privilege to meet people of different congregations and walks of life. We have sat in amazement as we watched people and church congregations give thousands upon thousands of dollars as they fulfill their role of “senders” in the Great Commission. We have been blessed by people who have supported us personally out of their own financial need. We have talked with people who have adopted and fostered children all their lives and are walking through both the joy and the pain of it. We have hugged old ladies who faithfully pray in front of abortion clinics each week begging the Lord to save lives. We have shaken hands with people we barely knew but who looked us in the eyes with the utmost sincerity and encouraged us by saying, “We pray for you every single day.”
We have sat next to people who asked our boys thoughtful questions, truly listened to what they have to say, and then sent packages with handwritten letters along with some of their favorite picture books to them. We have received care packages from around the world from thoughtful friends. We have been blessed by a family with 8 children who faithfully took time to print, address, stamp, and send out our newsletters over the last 2 years. And we have admired retired people who are spending their retirement more involved in ministry and missions than ever before.
Over the years, we have also met people of whom it is truly a privilege to call our co-laborers. We have been taught by men who have written acclaimed missiology books and could fill hours and hours with their wealth of knowledge. We have sat under teachers who have amazing gifts, incredible stories, and the humility to help us learn from their mistakes. We listened to an ordinary man who has set foot in a country very few Westerners ever will have access to.
We have met some of the most humble people and see the incredible beauty that comes with humility. We have dined with parents who have raised amazing children in the most unfavorable circumstances. We have also prayed with godly, faithful parents for their wayward children.
We have talked with people who have given up wealth and status and prosperous careers to serve God in a humble way. Servants who are chronically ill and yet continue to do what they can. We have sat with a woman whose husband was kidnapped and never found again while serving overseas. We have listened to another woman who survived a year captured by terrorists in the jungle while her husband was killed. People who have lost spouses and children or suffered greatly from the physical strains of their lives. A young wife and mother mostly confined to her bed after a mysterious tropical disease hit her. These suffer-ers who are walking in their suffering bravely, courageously, humbly, and thankful. And we have met many, many co-workers who have been faithfully serving for years, despite many closed doors, changed plans, transitions, hardships, and chances to give up.
Let’s be real: it IS nice to go to the beach every now and then. We have the great, great opportunity to learn another language. And the truth is that we DO have more freedom in scheduling our days than we would if we had a traditional job. But, more than any of that, it is truly an honor to serve beside such men and women of God.