You. You are the missionary's friend. Did you know that? No? Well, let me tell you, it is a fact. You are my friend!
You see, missions cannot fruitfully happen and progress without the help of God's people. It requires the individual who is committed to go and it requires the individual who is committed to stay.
A missionary + A layperson = Missions
Many times missionaries are elevated to some extraordinary status where they have no right to be. We are only part of the equation needed to accomplish a direct order from God. He calls for one and He calls for the other. Neither is more important than the other. We are equally engaged in reaching souls.
We are partners.
As a missionary to Brazil, all of my time, money, and efforts are focused on Brazil. That means when I come stateside, I am suddenly in need of a way to focus on the lifestyle and demands of US culture. I am immediately required to check in, represent, and be fully on board with every church and program that I attend. People smile and pump my hand in greeting while I nervously try and think of how to say something back to them. The shock of it all stretches my brain and my being to it's near frayed edge while I transition. Only someone living abroad would understand what it is like to come back to the states and enter a local Walmart. I personally wandered in a daze before leaving in tears, purchasing nothing because it was too overwhelming. There is little time to readjust because family wants to see us, we have to report back and make phone calls and schedule meetings, all the while keeping up with our ministry back in Brazil.
Does God leave us alone in this? Nope. He uses YOU, the missionary's friend.
When you call us out of the blue and we sound weird on the other end, it may discourage you from ever calling another missionary. But I am here to tell you that after we hang up, we are so encouraged by your "checking in". We are smiling stupidly as we recall everything you said and we feel loved. The phone calls, messages and emails are what begin reconstructing our tired souls. Yes, I said tired. We are physically, mentally, and emotionally tired by the time we missionaries make it to furlough. We are keenly aware that we are NOT here to be on vacation, but rather continue working in a different aspect of missions. And we waste no time, we jump right in and begin working because this partnership with you, our friend, is very important to us.
Recently I had the wonderful opportunity to be completely and entirely broke. With all our saving, preparing and budgeting for furlough we were up against it. We had paid tithe, our missionaries we support, our ministry in Brazil, our bills, both US and Brazilian, and taken care of our children, but still had an entire month in front of us to live. So, what did we do? Our knees met the floor with our hearts aimed at the heavens while our mouths pleaded with our Saviour to meet our needs. And as He has promised to do, He listened and acted. And, as He used person after person to provide for me and my family, I began thinking of how important the lay person is in missions. How great your part is in the missionary's life and how it creates a friendship, a partnership that has no equal.
So thank you. I thank each of you that has felt that nudging from the Holy Spirit that caused you to act upon something on my behalf. You never knew how much I was weeping and pleading while the thought entered your heart to either call me or message me, but God did and He used you. Doesn't that just thrill you? God chose YOU to add to me in order to produce MISSIONS! I am here working and doing my part and I will return to Brazil to work and do my part but together as partners, we will see more people saved, more neighbors for our homes in Heaven, more lives changed for His glory and the multiplication of souls will continue.
But it starts with you and me.
Romans 8:28......it's true!
Until next time, Lord willing,