They really do.
We are coming to realize (and battle within ourselves) an unspoken rule that missionaries are only missionaries if they are living in dirt, eating bugs, and struggling to survive. Even missionaries struggle with a sense of despair if things are going relatively well and they happen to be enjoying the experience.
Dictionary.com says that a missionary is “a person sent by a church into an area to carry on evangelism or other activities, as educational or hospital work.”
Our definition tends to be, “a crazy person who decides to move to a destitute land of dirt and large insects in order to prove themselves worthy through painful sacrifice and suffering.” Or maybe it’s “a person who wishes to travel the world by the purses of their friends and family while calling it ‘mission.'”
Sadly, our view of mission work and missionaries has been skewed. Jesus and Paul both speak to the issue of missionaries having their needs met through the Church body, finding abundant life in their Call, and sharing the Gospel (without regard for the availability of internet access, vehicles, or water in those areas of service).
If you are a Bible-believing Christian, you are a missionary.
Not just Africa. Not just South America.
The United States. Your neighbors. Your family. Your friends.
They are your mission field.
Does Germany somehow transcend the call to “all nations”?
These are challenges and questions that God has been so faithful in answering in our lives.
No, Germany and the United States (and every other “cushy” country) need Jesus too. And often they are harder to reach. Desperate countries find themselves open and willing to accept a Savior. “Cushy” countries think they’ve got it all together and don’t need anyone to save them.
But there’s more.
Black Forest Academy happens to be located in a gorgeous town in Germany. And yes, those Germans need Jesus. But BFA supports mission work in FIFTY other countries! Twenty of those countries can’t even be listed because they are closed countries. Over 100 missionary families are serving in those fifty countries because BFA is providing their kids with quality education while they serve.
We recently met with a young woman who has been teaching in a Muslim nation with families whose children attend BFA. She said that BFA was the reason those families were able to continue serving their Muslim friends. (Look for a guest post from her soon, hopefully!)
Do people in “cush” countries serve without sacrifice? Of course not! Moving your own solo self (let alone a family of six) has a very high cost. We deal with geographical separation from friends and family, leaving our “homes” and pets, selling of our belongings for quarters at yard sales, the stress that comes with learning a new language, living in a new land with different laws and cultural rules, clothing styles, shopping with new currency, learning to drive to different laws, grocery shopping in open air markets every couple of days (because the size of your refrigerator only holds that much), quiet hours for PETS… the list goes on and on.
THIS is our suffering (2 Timothy 1:8-10). To abandon our comfortable and luxurious brown-picket-fence life for the sake of Christ’s beckoning.
Cushy countries need Jesus.
Africa needs Jesus.
I need Jesus.
Where are you serving as a missionary? Your family? Your neighbors? Your co-workers? How can be praying for your ministry?