[forthright] Challenges of Being a Missionary

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From: Forthright Magazine <ba@...>
Date: Wed, 17 Nov 2004 16:55:19 -0600
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross


COLUMN: Reality Check

Challenges of Being a Missionary
by Stan Mitchell

"The Lord said to Abram, 'Leave your country, your
people and your father's household, and go to the
land I will show you" (Genesis 12:1). Donna
Mitchell, in her book "Among the People of the
Sun" recalls the day her family left the United
States for mission work in Southern Rhodesia,
Africa. She recalls the tears of friends and
family at the airport. Then she adds:

"Once a friend remarked, 'I could never go to
another land, because our family is very close.' I
wanted to cry out, 'Our family is very close
too!'"

I have just read of a missionary family in
Tallinn, Estonia. The missionary's father in the
States suffers from inoperable cancer. I think of
the grandchildren, and what they have sacrificed.
Our missionaries give up a great deal in order to
bring the lost to Christ. In many countries they
forfeit the civil rights we take for granted in
America. They usually take a loss in quality of
life because third world countries lack the
material and technological advancements of
America. They are paid a fragment of the salaries
of preachers back home. I remember missionaries
talking about missing the little things –-
Snicker's Bars or watching the Rose Bowl on New
Year's day.

It's easier to send the Gospel message over short-
wave radio, or by mail. It's easier to go to the
mission field for short, intense campaigns. But
mark this: there is no substitute for a missionary
committing years of service to the Lord on a
mission field. You cannot calculate the value of
learning the language, the culture, setting a
living example of Christianity, and gaining the
trust of the local people.

God had only one son, and he was a missionary.

This is budget time for most churches. You have
received many slick pamphlets and presentations
this year from many church organizations. Let me
put in a plug for the humble, long-term
missionary. I know what I will be suggesting to
the leadership in my congregation. Will you
consider this, too, please? Back a man and a
family who has made a long-term commitment to
serving God on the mission field. When all is said
and done, evangelism is still about one man
teaching one man about the Savior!

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