Let me tell you a story about the awesome God I serve. There is a couple named Don and Lucy. They are serving the Lord in Argentina. I am in America. These missionaries have been serving the Lord and the people of Argentina for about 45 years. Here in America, I am a somewhat ailing 47-year-old mom, in whom God parked a specific set of characteristics, values, and a handful of abilities for His own use. My physical impairments have ruled out some things I was once able to do, but I can pray and write. God made me fairly articulate, and gave me a heart that has a very difficult time turning a blind eye to the pain of another person if there is anything humanly possible that I can do about it.
Yesterday morning I opened the monthly letter which this missionary couple sends to all of their supporting churches. And I cried because I felt pain in the heart of another human being, 5000 miles on the other side of the globe, through words on a page. I prayed for them, and asked the Lord to give me words for an e-mail which would give them comfort, and to see to it they received the e-mail. I wrote down the words God laid on my heart, and I sent it. But this story is not about me, and it’s not about the Nevels, but about the God we both serve, and the work God has for every born-again believer to do.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word is our Bible, and Jesus is that Word, but did we ever stop to think of the awesome potential of our words, written or spoken, to convey Jesus, and all the hope that comes with Him, to another human being? That is the very reason for which Don and Lucy Nevels have given their lives in service to the people of Mendoza. Because they understand the power of The Word, and the common need of all mankind, for a Savior.
Their letter conveyed a very honest disheartened moment, a tiny slice of their over-all experience there, I am sure, though I imagine that the disheartened moments are much more often than we ever hear about here at home. The missionary’s letter highlights the hard truth of missionary life, which is the fact that sometimes the harvest is very slow in coming. I speculate that Don and Lucy were hesitant to send that letter, and indeed did so with a disclaimer. But I am so very grateful for their honesty, and the courage it took to leave it just as it was and mail it. Because it drives clean home, the crucial role that we at home have to play, in the work of the missionary, the investment that is needed and sadly is greatly lacking: that of diligent intercessory prayers.
I have committed to pray for our missionaries, and correspond with them and have asked the Lord to encourage them through me in any small way that I can be used to do so. You see, they need support, yes financial, definitely, but prayer, by all means! They don’t just need a vague mention in the weekly prayer meeting. They need for us to know what their needs are, to remember them and to pray for them that effectual fervent prayer that availeth much. And they do need for us to follow through on our promised support of both prayer and giving. There have been similar indications of such desperate need of prayer from some of the other missionaries that I have heard from. And I sense that it hurts them a little to have to admit how badly prayer support may seem lacking. Is it possible some feel a little abandoned and forgotten? If so, shame on us!
This is addressed to every born-again believer who has ever made a Faith Promise or a promise to pray for a missionary, as well of those who haven’t but ought to have. I believe there are some who will read this, and God will deal with your heart, just as He has been with my own.
In Exodus 17, we read of the Israelites doing battle with the Amalekites. As long as Moses held up his arms, Israel prevailed under Joshua’s leadership, and when Moses’ arms got tired and started to sink low, the Amalekites prevailed. So Moses’ companions Aaron and Hur, sat him upon a rock, and stood on either side of him, and held his arms up for him so that ”his hands were steady until the going down of the sun”. By doing so, Israel was victorious.
Maybe you have never witnessed to another human being in your life. Perhaps you feel that God neither called nor equipped you to do that. But the Great Commission is there in black and white in the Bible and can’t be ignored. Go ye therefore into all the world and preach the gospel. I personally believe we will answer for it if we have made no effort at all to give the gospel to others. That is like the unprofitable servant in the Bible who buried his talents. Now, I agree, not everyone is a goer. Many are called, and few are chosen. So, clearly some of us are stay-ers. But the stay-ers ought to at least be either ”pray-ers” or payers, if not both! It does not have to be much. Give of what you have. Consider the loaves and the fishes. Little is much if God is in it. If you can’t give financially, you can pray and encourage, at the very least.
I got an e-mail back from Don and Lucy within only a few hours, actually, and in that awesome way God has of working in the lives of His children, The Lord did encourage and edify this couple with the words He had inspired me to write, which served to bless and encourage me greatly in the process as well. And that, to me, is an amazing testimony of God’s very personal love and concern for one missionary couple and one ordinary housewife, 5000 miles across the globe from each other. That He would orchestrate such seemingly inconsequential events as the timing of 2 e-mails, in order to bless and edify both parties in just the way that each of us needed. We serve a loving and personal God. Let us never forget, though, that He did it all for the sake of the gospel.
I ask that you would pray for the work and ministry of Don and Lucy, and other missionaries whom you know of. They get weary and discouraged, just like we do, and if you are “holding their arms up” in prayer today, you might just be part of a miracle like the one that happened yesterday, whether or not you even know about it this side of heaven.
*This ministry is featured in this post by permission of the missionary.