The following letter was written by a missionary for whom I have no name. Nevertheless it made its point to me as I trust it will to you. He writes: Never pity the ones in the thick of the fight! There is something special about being on the front lines—the blood and sweat mixed with the grime and mud of spiritual warfare. The front lines can be anywhere a soldier of the cross determines to obey and to engage in the fight.
Pity? Never! The one stepping out in faith pities the poor souls who have never chosen to live the faith life for themselves. Pity is for the one who has never experienced the rough seas and walked on the water with Jesus. Pity is for the one who has never faced impossible odds only to see the Captain with the victory. Pity is for the one who has never struggled to the top of the mountain to be rewarded with a heavenly viewpoint and closeness with the Creator on the summit. Pity is for the one who has never known the paradox of strength through weakness and joy through sorrow.
Much attention is given to the "sacrifice" of missionaries. But, when we consider the sacrifice of our Savior, all else pales in comparison—there is nothing too great to give in His cause. No, we do not need your pity—we need your prayer. We enlisted in this battle willingly and we count it the highest honor to represent our King! We are walking the path God has designed for us, but we chose to follow. We desire to live in the deep, for it is in the deep where God meets His people; in the deep, we see the mighty hand of our God and the mighty demonstration of His power and it is the faithful prayer of His people which sustains us.
But, when you see the faces of our family on that prayer card keeping watch from its place on the refrigerator, or you see how quickly our children are growing up through emails and prayer letters, we implore you to please pray for the nameless, faceless extended family that you will probably never meet.
Pray for the mothers and fathers of missionaries whose hearts ache to snuggle their grandchildren (our children) but cannot because they are half a world away; who wish their Thanksgiving tables were full and the Christmas tree was surrounded by bright, gleaming eyes staring with wonder at the presents arranged underneath.
Pray for the sisters and brothers of missionaries who only know their nieces and nephews through sporadic calls or video chat (praise God for technology!), or through fleeting visits every few years; who yearn for us to hold their newborn children and "ooohhh" and "aaahhh" over them like aunts and uncles should.
Pray for our nephews and nieces who grow up with digital relationships with us, their aunts and uncles; who cannot understand why we don't visit more often; who are learning geography because it is where their loved ones reside.
Pray for those who miss us on birthdays and special holidays; who wish we could be there to comfort them in sad times and to rejoice with them in glad times; who are dealing with an increased multiplied onslaught of the Wicked One because of the role of their loved one in the work of the Lord; who long for a "normal" that will never be.
No, we seek no glory other than that of our Savior. We have known no sacrifice—only reward. We have lost nothing—we have only gained everything. But, our loved ones who may never fully understand what God has done in our hearts, will make sacrifices far beyond what we will know. They will experience the pain of "loss" more deeply than anyone. But this is now the new "normal."
Friend, we desire no pity; we deeply desire your prayer—such an overstated but under-utilized weapon in our spiritual arsenal. Pray for missionaries, but please remember to pray for the fathers, the mothers, the brothers, the sisters, the grown children, the nieces, the nephews, the grandparents, and the grandchildren. We are grateful for your faithful labor in this fight. This is a good fight, because the fight in which we are engaged is His fight (II Timothy 4:7)!
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