Sunday, October 27, 2013

It's Not Just About The Going

The statistics scare me. According to the research in  "Too Valuable to Lose" by William Taylor, nearly half of all career missionaries (47%) will leave their work within the first 5 years. For the majority of them interpersonal relationships with other missionaries will be the primary reason. Statistics aside, I've seen this happen to friends and experienced the grief of broken ministry relationships for myself. Are we really willing to subject our family to such odds? 

Here at Elim it's missions emphasis week. We've enjoyed incredible speakers who are doing God's work all over the world. Men and women who are drilling wells in Uganda, caring for orphans in Kenya, working with university students in China, and every other imaginable ministry. This morning we heard from Pastor Dick Dreyer who has missions experience in over 50 countries including 10 years in Iran. Over and over students and church members have been challenged to "Pray, Give, and Go".

At the end of the Saturday night meeting the speaker invited anyone who wanted to say "Yes, I'm willing to go" to pray at the alter. I watched as college students walked forward to pray and to open their hearts to seriously consider overseas ministry. As the first few went forward I thought back to my own "yes" prayer. I was 16 years old and on a week long trip to Mexico with my youth group. One evening in a small Mexican church, profoundly moved by all I had experienced that week, I too approached the alter and poured out my heart in prayer.

Now, sixteen years later and on the verge of leaving for Papua, I prayed "Lord, you know I love you. And you know I love to go." In the midst of that prayer I hear in my heart, "Yes, but will you stay there for Me?" And I'm up out of my seat joining those at the alter. Realizing it's not just about the going. It's also about staying.

Mexico. Playing with children who forever changed my view of the world.