My brother Dan is one of the finest missionaries I know. I wrote of him a while back in a post entitled “My Brother, My Hero.” He’s served the Lord in a dangerous part of Brazil for over a decade, enduring life-threatening challenges, seeing a fellow laborer nearly assassinated, and fearing for the safety of his seven children. Yet, he has faithfully served the Lord, seen Brazilians saved and trained for the ministry, and participated in the planting of several churches.
Responding to my question about especially influential Bible texts, Dan cited the book of 1 Thessalonians:
“One of the greatest passages that keeps me on the field is 1 Thessalonians. Paul writes of the struggles and false accusations but leaves very clear the motive for his service. I Thessalonians 2:17-20 says, ‘But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavored the more abundantly to see your face with great desire. Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us. For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy.’ The separation and struggles are only worth it because of the souls of the lost.”
Dan mentioned several other factors that pushed him toward the mission field:
- He was impressed by the faithfulness of missionaries we knew in our home, including our Uncle Michael, a great man who is now with his Lord. He encouraged me to get missionaries into the homes of TCBC families.
- He was given a cheap xerox by our youth pastor, Dave Wood, reminding him to pray for the Lord of the Harvest to send for laborers. He did, every night, and ended up being the answer to his own prayer.
- He was forever changed by being asked as a teenager (again by Dave Wood) to disciple Tino, a young convert. Both of them grew tremendously.
- He was (and is) challenged by Mac Lynch’s song, I Will Follow:
“There is a song that I learned at the Wilds shortly after giving my life to the Lord. I had surrendered to serving Him and following Him in anything He asked of me. The song is I Will Follow. I meant every word of the song when I sang it as a young person, but I didn’t understand all that each word meant. The last time I sang this song at Grace Bible in Colorado Springs, I was unable to complete even the first verse and in fact tears come to my eyes as I think of it now. The song is deep, but can only be thoroughly understood as the song is experienced. But the tears were not because of loss, or the great cost, but they were tears of surrender. I WILL STILL FOLLOW wherever He leads, and now I know through experience how difficult the path can be but more importantly how faithful my God always remains. The storms at times have been more than I could have imagined, but in the midst of them He was with me. He has taken us through some things that I wouldn’t wish on a dog. But nothing that He didn’t intend for my good and His own glory. I don’t mean to sound as if He was mistaken in His plan; He was sovereign. I have seen my kids go through some things that I would never have planned for them, that I have sought to protect them from, but could not. And once again, I must remind myself or be reminded through His Word that ‘when we walk through the water, He will be there…'”
When I asked a while back for favorite missionary biographies, Dan replied via a personal email that he’s found Acts to be a pretty good one. Typical Dan. :)
This last quote is my favorite. Being a missionary isn’t something exceptional, Dan says. It’s the result of knowing God. It makes perfect sense to do what our Creator and Savior asks:
“I didn’t chose to be a missionary because I had counted the costs and believed it was worth it. I am a missionary because God saved me, and called me, and I have no option but to obey Him. I have no greater joy than to serve Him. I have no other passion than to please Him. I have no other plans for my life but to KNOW HIM and make Him KNOWN. Missions is the natural outflow of knowing God and realizing that we do not deserve His grace, love and forgiveness.”
Again, reader, consider whether the Lord would have you take the gospel where it is unheard or unbelieved. And pastor, join me in praying and laboring more diligently to see more people from our churches go!
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