Friday, March 1, 2019

Modern Missionary Struggles – Part 2: When There is Family Crisis

Hello! Chris here. 

This series of Blogs about the missionary realities, especially ‘modern missionary struggles’ is, hopefully, a window for some of our serious partners to ‘pray with understanding’...
So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding.     1 Cor 14:15

Hopefully, this Blog will give you some solid ways to pray for us.

Gone are the days where missionaries pack their earthly belongings in wooden caskets and ship off to a land that they will never return from alive. [Hence, the casket-shipping containers]. These heroes of missionary history would usually find out their family and friends passed away in a letter or post that took months to reach them. For them, the call of missions meant a tearing away from any real family involvement, literally following the Gospel passage,

Many people were traveling with Jesus. He said to them, “If you come to me but will not leave your family, you cannot be my follower. You must love me more than your father, mother, wife, children, brothers, and sisters—even more than your own life! Whoever will not carry the cross that is given to them when they follow me cannot be my follower.    Luke 14:25-27, ERVersion

When we are in the SF Bay area, we’ve stayed at a wonderful, historic missionary ‘transit house’, where so many missionaries waited for their ship passage, mainly to China and Japan. Some of the portrait-pictures were the last pictures taken of them in America... ever. They served, and were buried in their field of service, never to have returned.

That was then, this is now.

Welcome to the days where;

^^you can travel to anywhere on the planet in 72 hours from wherever you currently are on that same planet, with no regards for $$$, of course, 

^^we are fully available for phone calls, texts, emails and Skype video calls anywhere there is a cell tower signal, and

^^our families know this

Given we are missionaries working 4 hours out from the major city with a fly-able airport, sometimes hampered by bad roads and un-safe weather (especially the mountainous travel)...
...and all our travel is on a limited budget...
...and all our family are between 500 and 1,800 miles away...
...and it’s more than air-flights: it’s ground transpo, places to stay, cost of travel-eating...


...what do we do about family crisis and emergencies?

Here is our Scripture grid for decision-making in family crisis and emergencies:

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.     James 1:5

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps     Proverbs 16:9

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.       John 10:27

Here is what we do:
       ^^We pray and ask the Lord to speak,
       ^^we begin making appropriate plans,
       ^^we keep listening for the Voice of our Shepherd,
       ^^we make calls and connections, we keep listening, and...
       ^^plans emerge... we fly out.

Yes, there can be significant work-flow disruption in our Mexico work by being ‘pulled away’ and having to quickly change plans and fly to where family is. Working with people in a Mexican farming village has an entirely different pace, planning rhythm and final ‘it will happen’ factor.

Example: it took us two weeks of arranging dates to pull off the Kindergarten Hat Outreach a few blogs back... planned dates, changed, new date, oh-yeah-school-closed, how about this date? Date change, FINALLY an outreach!

In the last few years, we have had to change some Outreach plans and one of us do a ‘rapid-deploy’ fly-out more than a few times.

Our bottom line is, we ask the Lord, and follow what His direction is to us. Since He is the Lord of the Harvest, we work for Him.

There have been some tough spots along the way. For the family who all live and work in America, there can be an assumption that we can ‘drop what we’re doing and fly over’ for the ‘expected family involvement’... and they let us know that.

That is a really, really tough thing, especially given the cost of ‘time-talent-treasure’ involved.

SO, good friends and partners... PRAY-PRAY-PRAY for us in all these matters, that more than anything, we can hear the Voice of our Lord and respond to Him and His calling in the situation, not the pressures of expectations in a family crisis.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.   Matthew 6:33

tu hermano,
All Scripture references from New International Version unless otherwise indicated.

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