If you grew up in church, especially in the AG, you probably remember seeing missionaries come and share with your church. If you had a parent who was a pastor or a core volunteer, you might have even had them for dinner at your house or have given up your bed for the night and slept with your sister who liked to sleep horizontally, upside down, or diagonally…(oh that was just me? Right…)
Remember that? Remember hearing stories and seeing photographs and collecting missionary prayer cards like trading cards? (I know that wasn’t just me!) Maybe you even had one that you kept by your bedside and prayed for every night.
Maybe you filled a buddy barrel or a Pringles can. Maybe you wrote a check each month to your church or a specific missionary.
I spent many years thinking of missions, having grown up the daughter of an AG pastor. I remember hearing rolling laughter after I had gone to bed, wishing I could be a part of the stories that were being told in my living room. I remember seeing photo of places far away that I could not comprehend.
I remember reading books about Amy Carmichael and David Livingstone. Missionaries were heroes. Champions of faith who sold everything and lived in a cave with a flashlight. Giants of Christianity who lived life with a spear at their throat.
And then…I became one.
And I realized that we aren’t the heroes.
The heroes are the ones that fill up their buddy barrels. Who fill up their Pringles cans to provide vehicles for us. Who send in their checks of $5, $25, or $100 each month, faithfully. The heroes are the ones who allow the missionaries to do what they do.
You see, I get to see it happen. I get to see a church being built in Paris. I get to have a relationship with the people there. I get to live in the excitement of missionary work. Of course, there are hard times and difficult adjustments, but there is a joy in being on the front lines.
It takes a massive faith to send money to a place you may never see. It takes great obedience to continue, faithfully, though you never meet the people whose lives are changed because of you.
It is difficult for me, or for any missionary, to find words to appropriately express our gratefulness to you. But know this – you are the real heroes. And we thank you with every breath for giving wings to the dreams God has placed in our hearts.