Normal Mom Text: “Hey mom, let’s have lunch on Tuesday! Oh, and can I borrow your cupcake pan?”
My Text Today: “Eeeek – Mommy – we just had a really big earthquake and I was home alone and David ran up from the church to protect me!!!!”
Way to get your heart pumping in the morning! My daughter and new son-in-law live in a small community just outside San Jose, Costa Rica – a place where drugs & gunshots – and yes, earthquakes - can be as common as the geckos and mosquitos that buzz about their house. How did she get there? Last I checked she was a kindergarten teacher in a local school district with her own apartment, her own car, her own paycheck. Now she’s a pastor’s wife living far away – new life, new language, new routine. Which apparently includes earthquakes???? Zika? Street crime! Theft. Expensive food!
They walk everywhere, unless they take a bus. The smallest task, paying their rent, takes all day by the time they walk to the bus stop, take a bus, transfer to another bus, walk to the bank, wait in line, pay their rent in cash, then take all the buses back home again! They hang their laundry outside, and take it up & down repeatedly during rainy season! She washes dishes by hand all day, mops every day – her brand new sheets are moldy from the constant heat & rain. Her life is physically & mentally so much harder than her typical American suburban life.
But the rewards – she lives in close community with God’s people, holding babies, praying for dying neighbors, feeding addicts, meeting with people in crisis, leading a church where all are welcome, discipling young girls, living on full-support, trying not to worry about money or health care or immigration or her family back home. She said yes to God’s call (and a cute Nicaraguan) and is flourishing in that obedience. And they are just one in a legion of families who have said YES to full-time service, most in hard-places, all with unique needs, dangers, problems, and joys.
(Note: For security purposes names have been abbreviated to letters)
The A’s are still in a hotel after 10 weeks in France – they can’t find an apartment to live in. KM’s mom is dying and she is on the other side of the globe, flying to the US to help as she can. The K’s co-workers are being tossed out of China right & left. One young family is taking their 3 babies into dangerous territory to share the Gospel – they gave up lucrative & impressive careers to go to one of the hardest areas on earth to preach the Gospel.
A group of Latinos are being sent into dangerous places in eastern Asia – and against all odds, Chinese believers are taking the Gospel “back to Jerusalem.” Others are packed & ready to go but countries are denying their visas. Militants around the world are killing, attacking, raping, and imprisoning Christians around the world. The M’s sent their child to college several continents away. A local Columbus family just moved to…well...a place so dangerous I dare not mention it - with little kids, and a baby on the way. Many live in dangerous places where they are tracked and could be jailed or deported. This is why I can’t use their names or locations in public – it is literally dangerous for them.
Life is hard – we all have sickness and family issues and old parents – but when we add international living, spiritual warfare, family far away, poor medical care, dwindling finances, team stress, extreme weather, terrorism, anti-US sentiment, volatile world economy, and MORE, it reminds us to pray fervently for those sharing the Gospel in hard places! I just had the privilege of viewing the new movie THE INSANITY OF GOD (see it! or read the book!) and seeing how God multiplies His Church in the middle of drastic suffering & persecution. This missionary family lost a child on the field and set out to answer the question, “is Jesus worth it?” Is serving Him worth loss, martyrdom, prison, torture? After all they saw and heard, interviewing over 600 people persecuted for the Gospel, the answer is a resounding YES – Jesus is worth it all. In the scope of eternity, a few moldy sheets, a house full of geckos, living in a hotel, living in a hard place, are just fragments of sharing in Christ’s suffering. Our obedience will allow us to share in His resurrection one day and we want to be found faithful in sharing God’s Glory to the ends of the earth!
I also had the privilege this summer to attend the “graduation” of the latest group of Christar missionaries – a room FULL of young (YOUNG) families with bunches of little children wiggling around the formal proceedings! What a JOY to see these families turning away from the lure of good jobs & safe comfortable lives to serve the Lord among the least-reached people groups in the world. Please please pray for these workers – our own New Lifers, others we know, and those we may never “know” – that they will be effective in their efforts to spread the Gospel in hard places so that God’s name will be made famous in all the earth!
(PS: And the earthquake caused no real damage, just one nervous mama!)