Friday, December 24, 2010

Missionaries are my hero's

As Christmas approaches, I think of the missionaries.  As we sit in our warm, comfortable homes, surrounded by friends and family and a boat load of gifts under the tree, I think about the missionaries that have sacrificed all of this for the Kingdom of God.  The missionaries sit in a poverty stricken country, in living conditions that are much lower standards than they came from, away from all their family and friends and the familiarities of Christmas back home, and surrounded not by family but by a language and culture they still don't fully grasp.  The missionaries are my hero's because they do all of this with joy and no complaints.  They consider it a huge privilege from God to sacrifice in this way for the Kingdom.  They are probably closer to God than most of us will ever be.  So as you sit in your warm, comfortable house, surrounded by loved ones, think of the missionaries this Christmas and thank God for them and pray for them.

It is easy to forget how much missionaries have to deal with in the field.  They have no choice but to deal with the spiritual pressures of balancing the overwhelming work with their families, with their daily devotional time with God (which is the most important in order to help them not die spiritually), with building new relationships, with the multitude of problems facing a new church plant, and the list goes on. 

They face physical pressures of poor health, fatigue, depression, mental exhaustion, anxiety over the health and safety of their families, and hazardous travel.

They face emotional pressures over loneliness because they are so far from home, learning the language and culture, new converts, lack of privacy, marital strains, and illness or death of loved ones back home.

The face financial pressures.  The missionary doesn't get a raise every year.  In fact, the missionary depends entirely on God and isn't guaranteed that their supporters will sent support.  Like David Sitton says, all missionaries receive that "dear John" letter saying their support is being dropped because the church needs to repave their parking lot. 

So here are some things to pray for the missionaries in the field that are fulfilling the great commission in our place and for us as we prepare for our move to the field in August.  (These are taken from David Sitton's book, "To every tribe with Jesus.")

Spiritual life
  • Sufficient time to read, reflect and pray
  • Protection from dark forces in the spiritual realms
  • Spiritual growth
Personal Life
  • Marriage will remain strong (This is the first and hardest thing the devil will hit)
  • Social, emotional and spiritual needs for our children
  • Basic financial requirements
  • Protection
  • Self-discipline
  • Build relationships with other Christians
  • Team unity
  • New friendships with our national brothers and sisters
  • That we will resist temptations toward jealousy, envy, bitterness and pride.
Language Proficiency
  • Progress in Language studies
  • Adaptation to culture and customs
  • Clarity, creativity and relevance in preaching and teaching
Evangelism and Discipleship
  • Fearless and bold in preaching Christ and Him crucified
  • That we will be lead by the Holy Spirit as to where we go.
  • That God would give discernment
  • That God would open doors and prepare hearts
  • That disciples and church leaders would be fully trained
  • That God would raise up national missionaries
  • That God is honored through our ministry
  • For the political situation
  • Religious freedom
  • Favor with government officials
  • Swift approval of visas.

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