As I rub shoulders with missionaries around this world, I am often brought to tears. Their testimonies of incredible obstacles, and yet pressing forward in obedience to God’s call to reach the unreached of this world, are overwhelming. It has given me a glimpse into the Apostle Paul’s heart as he expresses his deep appreciation for those faithful believers of his day! This issue of NTM@work is all about perseverance and sticking to the task.
As a “missionary kid”, I had the privilege of seeing perseverance at its best in my own father. My parents served in the Lauje tribe, where they were invited in by the tribal chieftain, Notana. Notana taught my dad his language, hoping that my dad might someday share the answers and hope of life with the Lauje people. Then just before hearing the Gospel for the first time, Notana became sick with dysentery, and slipped into a Christless eternity. In spite of shattered expectations, my dad pressed on, and today, there is a thriving and growing church amongst the Lauje people.
When I think about perseverance, I remember Pak Elisa, a faithful national missionary. In spite of having TB, and a spleen that was swollen to the size of a football, he pressed forward to learn the very difficult Elseng language and build relationships with this obstinate people group. He died, with his boots on.
Only last month, I sat with a couple who, with tears in both their eyes, shared about his being diagnosed with learning challenges. Learning a new language is daunting enough, but for him it is multiplied many times over. When most would quit, he shared this, “I know I will not be fluent enough to teach when my co-workers present the Gospel for the first time, but God has called me to this work, and I will not quit.” This man was a pilot who gave up his career to become a church planter, and against all odds, he will finish the task before him.
I am so thankful for missionaries who persevere to make a difference in the lives of people who would not get a chance any other way. Thinking of these testimonies, I ask myself, “What am I doing today to bring people from every tribe, tongue and nation to worship God before His throne?”
What are you doing today?