Thursday, November 03, 2011

If you're a missionary please read this.
If you're not a missionary read it too.


I'm kind of jealous about something.  Not an ugly kind of jealousy where you wanna hurt somebody...more like a wistful comparison.

Missionary friend, I know your life is not easy.  You leave everything behind and make sacrifices I can't even comprehend.  Recently at our district women's conference one of our missionaries, Shellie Bowdoin, shared with the ladies with tears streaming down her face about having to immediately send her son back to the states when he turns 18.  They are preparing for their goodbyes.  This is not an option, it's mandatory.  I had no idea.  The thought just never occurred to me that they have no choice in this matter.  How have I missed this harsh reality about our missionary families?  I have so much more to pray about now.

Last night we began our missions conference at Celebration Church and our long-time friend Jeff Hartensveld, missionary to Indonesia, shared about eating "tree snot".  Apparently he has to do this on a regular basis.  He spoke of a food shortage at times, and having to eat rats.  Dining at Cracker Barrel was the highlight of his day when he arrived back in America yesterday. He's only here for two weeks and will enjoy as much as he can. I've been listening to missionaries speak for many years but I still get blown away when they share things like Jeff did last night. He shared with Larry and I about having to move from city to city as he starts new churches overseas because of persecution and danger to his family.  

So what am I jealous of?  I know you're probably wondering since you eat rodents.  You go without basic necessities.  You say more goodbyes than we will ever say. It's true.  You walk a journey of faith we can't comprehend.  Your lives are literally on the line every day.  You are our heroes.

I know every missionary experience is not the same.  But my envy is that many of you get to experience a level of faith and commitment in the church that is scarce in America. It's the blessing of being in the midst of  radical Christianity -- "hard core believers" as I call them.  People who believe and act with an intensity.

I'm going to write more about this tomorrow.  Remember, this is the last day to get in on the book giveaway. Tonight at midnight I draw the winner!  We're giving away Shelley Hundley's A Cry for Justice.  The winner will be announced here on the blog tomorrow morning, and I'm going to talk more about what makes me jealous. 

13 comments:

Sandy said...

I feel the same way, and yep every time I meet one, hear their story, being the person I am, I want to go with them. I want to hop on a plane and get out there.

1M_Students said...

Immigration and being able to work was the most difficult part of living out of the U.S. when I was a teenager, as my parents served as missionaries. I had to leave for a season, later returning on temporary work permit status- which required returning to the U.S. once per 12 months. My children born overseas, will not have rights in that Country, as they are U.S. Citizens born abroad. Great post Pastor Deanna, the challenges are most-times overlooked or unknown...the teens suffer from this the most, as their identity and culture was developed as a child & now must face major change as they reach college age. Thank you for posting. -Aaron

Minerva said...

My heart and prayers go out to them, I too am amazed at the sacrifices they make, it make our sacrifices seem small by comparison. They truely are heros, and I know what you mean by "hard core believers" I desire that kind of faith and intensity in my own walk also! They live it day in and day out, Its amazing.

G.Bloggess said...

Good post! Missionaries are amazing. I grew up going to Prayer Band with my cousins to grandmothers house, where we read letter from missionaries and wrote letters and prater for them. From that, I know a lot about the spriritual environ they are often face with.

Brooks said...

To be honest, that level of commitment scares me! However, every time I have stretched out of my comfort zone in obedience to what God was calling me to do, it has beed a TREMENDOUS experience! I will ask the missionaries to pray that God gives me the strength to allow him to stretch me and use me wherever/whenever he needs me! I will also dedicate myself to more prayer time on their behalf as well...

Faux Family said...

I have always been fascinated about missionaries and their stories. They are amazing people.

Gayle said...

The more I read about and hear from missionaries, the greater my respect for them. I can only see their lives through their stories-victories and heartbreaks-as I have no first-hand experience. May I also add that I am so blessed to belong to a church that goes that second mile to support missions! This cause has always been close to my heart and I'm so thankful God led me to a church that "puts its money where its mouth is."

Lori said...

I really get what you're saying. My heart is in Kenya though my body is in Ohio...and missionaries are close to the top of my prayer concerns.

Betty said...

Many years ago my husband, our 2 year old daughter and I sold everything we had and moved into a Sunday School room in our church. At first it was fun - a new experience - but as the months wore on I became angry at God for us not having a place of our own. We had no privacy. We would find people in the church at all hours. Since we had to take a shower in the baptismal, we would get up before the sun came up so no one would walk in on us. The worst part was there was no hot water and no heat in the sanctuary. At times the temperature in the sanctuary would get down in the 40's. The colder it got - the angrier I got at God. Then one day we received a newsletter from a missionary in Siberia. He told of how they had no running water in the house and would have to go out into temps of 40 - 50 below to pump water. Because there was no plumbing in the house, they would have to brave the cold and walk quite a distance just to use the outhouse. God got my attention that day! He reminded me that my life was really good compared to theirs and that I needed to get over myself. Since that day - Missionaries have become my Heroes!! God has also blessed us abundantly with a home of our own!

heather said...

I'm amazed at the faithfulness and sacrifice of the missionaries I've met. Although I am not called to be a missionary, I am blessed I'm able to support them. Look forward to reading tomorrow's blog!

Russell Faux said...

I too am jealous. I am reminded of that scripture where Paul said "...That I may know him, and the fellowship of His sufferings". Missionaries get to experience a walk in God so much deeper than most of us here in the U.S. I never thought I wish I could be brought to the end of myself like I do now after hearing Jeff speak. To be poured out as a love offering to the Lord in order to reach someone else for Jesus. Inspiring!

Sherrill said...

I hadn't realized the 18 rule either, Deanna. Proof this group of people forge ahead. WoW! My husband and I love hanging around missionaries. Their value system helps us keep our value system in check.

Deanna Shrodes said...

I was just shocked by it. I asked our missionary last night and he said it's true...they have to send them back except in rare circumstances.