(Wyck with his cousin)
Hebrews 12:1, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”
Hebrews 11 shares the stories of many Christians who lived faithfully for Jesus until the very end, and is meant to be an encouragement to us that we are not alone in this spiritual battle; others have served Jesus even when it was hard, and we can too.
Last week a missionary family whom we knew went to be with Jesus. They were in an accident on their way to their final month of training before moving to work with an unreached people group in Japan. The Pals family had just made the steps we are now making. They had begun saying their goodbyes to family, selling their earthly things, and preparing for the new life ahead of them. They followed Jesus’ command to “go,” trusting Him that heaven was real and following Him was worth it. And now they are with Him. We are encouraged by them to press on and seek to be obedient to Jesus.
As we are in this stage, many people ask us, “Are you excited?” and if we were being completely honest, our answer would be, “Not yet. Though we know Jesus has great things planned for us, right now we are sad about not getting to spend this life close to our loved ones. We are thinking about the sacrifice we are about to make and at times asking, ‘Is it worth it?’” Yet, as soon as that thought passes through our minds, our hearts cry, “Yes!” Because then we ask ourselves, “Do we really believe that heaven is real? And do we truly believe it is better than this life?” Then what this life is for is for obeying God, and telling others about Jesus. This is not our life to just sit back and enjoy- that life comes next. So right now our job is to think about how God wants us to spend this life, and trust that His heaven is better than anything we could imagine, and we will have eternity with loved ones there. What if we decided just to stay home because it is more comfortable, and then tomorrow we died? Or what if we go, and we die on the way to PNG? From a worldly standpoint there is no difference in the effect on the people of PNG. But at least we’d know we were at our posts when Jesus came for us. And, like the Pals family, we’d get to hear Him say, “Well done.”
Jamison Pals wrote in his blog joyofjapan.org, “It is clear that the Lord Jesus calls us not to an easy life, however he calls us. He bids us to take up our cross– just as he did– to suffer and die. Perhaps we will toil for years to raise support and never make it overseas. Perhaps we will go and utterly ‘fail’ as missionaries from all worldly perspectives. Perhaps we will labor for decades without any visible fruit. Or perhaps through willing obedience, many will pass from death to eternal life.” We’re praying that God uses Jamison and Kathryne’s lives to strengthen many in their obedience to Jesus (like He has us) and to bring many to eternal life.
Till All Know,
Matt, Karissa, Ty, and Wyck Long
(Tribal Church Planters in Papua New Guinea)
AN UPDATE: Thank you for your prayers for my appointments at Mayo last week! God answered prayer, and the neurosurgeon I met with does have experience operating on arachnoid cysts. The first day we met with a neurologist, and he recommended trying some medication, and then doing a follow up MRI in November. The second day we met with a neurosurgeon, and she recommended either doing surgery, or having an MRI every six months to keep an eye on the cyst. Basically, there are risks involved in leaving the cyst alone, and there are risks involved in doing surgery on it. So, now we are left with deciding what to do. Please pray for wisdom! Also, continue to pray that God will just heal this cyst.
– That many will come to know Jesus through the testimonies of the Pals family
– That many will be encouraged to go into missions through the witness of the Pals family
– That God will encourage and comfort the family and friends of the Pals
– That God will give us wisdom about Karissa’s cyst
– That God will heal Karissa’s cyst
– That Karissa got into the Mayo clinic
– That in Jesus those who die are more alive than they have ever been