As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you. John 20:21b (New Living Translation)
Less than a month after my parents arrived in Kenya to begin their missionary career, they heard the news that five missionaries in Ecuador, including someone they knew from college, had been killed by the people they were trying to make contact with. We grew up hearing the story of how God sent family members back to live among those same people, and how many of them were transformed by coming to know Jesus Christ.
Twice during my elementary school years missionary families from Congo were evacuated to Kenya because of Civil War, and not everyone made it out alive. We saw many of them return to Congo to continue the ministry God had called them to.
These were my heroes. Even today, I really admire friends and family who have gone to serve in physically dangerous places. I am in awe of the boldness of people on the front lines that Hope Church supports in Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and north and eastern Africa who are reaching out to people in great turmoil and need, telling the Good News of Jesus Christ to those who have never heard.
Why do they go? Is it because of the great need? They go because Jesus sends them. Their sympathy for the needs is something that comes from Him. (John 20:21) Is it because they are exceptional people who have all the answers? It is not their special abilities. They trust God’s wisdom and strength that comes from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19,20; Acts 1:8)
What does this have to do with us?
- We are sent by God into our communities to share His story. No matter where we live, being a Christian can be dangerous. Jesus told his disciples that he was sending them as sheep in the midst of wolves. (Matthew 10:16) The dangers are not just physical, but spiritual as well. (Ephesians 6:12)
- The Holy Spirit enables us to pray for and encourage one another in the body of Christ to live dangerously for Him no matter where we are. (Ephesians 6:18)
Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves. Matthew 10:16 (NLT)
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. Ephesians 6:18 (NLT)
Peggy Turnbull, Missions Coordinator