“Never pity missionaries. Envy them. They are where the real action is; where life and death, sin and grace, heaven and hell converge.” ~R. Shannon
I heard Terry Rush say one time that every single American Christian ought to be required to spend at least one year in a foreign mission field. If everyone spent twelve months of sacrifice and service in a place where the Church is not strong and every soul is regarded as precious and every Christian brother and sister is valued as important, there would be no more arguing or complaining or bickering in our American congregations. We wouldn’t fight about anything. We would understand acutely that the Kingdom of God is so much more important and so much bigger than our small version and definition of it, whatever our small version and definition may be. We would be shaped in such a way as to finally believe that being together in a Body of believers, a family of Christians, is the most wonderful thing in the world. And we would do everything in our power to preserve it.
In a foreign mission field, the battles are against the powers and principalities, the dark rulers of this world, not one another. The smallest physical blessings are giant miracles. That one new soul added to the Kingdom is monumental. The problems of mankind are seen as what they really are: sin and death, not whether a brother isn’t happy with the song selection or a sister has a complaint about the room temperature.
Kingdom community means something in a foreign mission field. Utter dependence on God is real in a foreign mission field. Humility and gratitude and faith and brotherly love are not just empty church words in a foreign mission field. In a foreign mission field — in the middle of all the teaching and preaching and praying and giving and crying and building and compromising and learning — men and women are shaped by God’s Holy Spirit to see everything differently.
I’ve been praying that God will use our trip to Ukraine to give me some of that “front lines” perspective. I want him to show me a bigger picture of his Kingdom. I want God to reveal to me exactly what he wants me to see. I want to know. I want to grow.
We’ve been here with David and Olivia for about 18 hours. And just in our brief reconnecting with each other, I’ve seen it. I see all of this big-picture, front-line perspective in them. You know, the things they wrestle with, the things they deal with, the things they have to endure for the mission of Christ in this place put all of our petty problems to shame.
All of them.
Our God is working right now to redeem all of his creation. He’s working in every corner of this huge world. He’s changing people, saving people; he’s healing and forgiving, loving and comforting; he’s giving mankind hope through his Son. And he’s robbing hell. Every day. In every part of this world. Every people, every nation, every tribe, every tongue.
I spend a lot of my time at Legacy worrying about whether so-and-so is happy.
Some of that time, I’m the so-and-so I’m worried about.
And I’m ashamed.
I want to keep you updated with everything we’re doing, but I’ve already run out of time. It’s been a busy Tuesday (remember, we’re a full eight hours ahead of Texas time) and we’re just minutes away from an English-speaking Bible study here at David and Olivia’s. I’ve got to make up the bed and straighten up in this guest room before Carrie-Anne and Olivia get back from the market. I’ll update one more time before the day is over, hopefully with a few pictures.