For more than two thousand years, missionaries (believers on a mission to share the good news of Jesus) have risked the health and well-being of themselves and their children to fulfill their vision. Even today, western and national missionaries risk everything to share their passionate beliefs in the hope of eternal life.
Why do people (like me) do this crazy act of love for Jesus? Is the risk worth the reward? Am I justified in saying “yes,” simply because my family was spared lasting harm due to our sacrificial labors in a foreign field? And not everyone was spared. For two millenia, missionaries have lost their lives and the lives of their spouses and children to spread the gospel. Well-known missionary to China, Jonathan Goforth, lost five of his children to disease during his years of service. So, what about me? How did I find courage to raise my children in the Democratic Republic of Congo?
Although our family was spared lasting harm, physically or psychologically because of our seven years in Congo, we were still surrounded by danger, especially our children. On two occasions, my first daughter had close encounters with snakes in the Congo. As an infant, she was sitting in her baby swing in the living room in Congo, when we found a black snake coiled up on the floor beneath her just inches from her legs. A second time, she was playing in a tub of water outside as a toddler when a snake slithered just past her. Although we could not determine if either snake was poisonous, the possibility was there.
Other regular dangers surrounded us like diseases such as malaria, war, conflict, drunken soldiers, corrupt politicians, and insecure transportation. So, where did my husband and I find the strength to continue our service? Let’s say from God Himself through the promises of His Word. We were in Congo on a mission to fulfill the Great Commission. Matthew 28:18-20 shares Jesus’ last instructions for His followers: “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go therefore and teach all nations…and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world (or age).” Not only were we strong to be doing the work of Jesus, we were also strong to be doing it with His power and in His presence. So, literally, our hope for safety was in the strength and stability of Jesus’ original command.
But what about today? Do I still need to trust God for the safety of my grown children? Yes! Though mature, they still face the challenges and risks of this crazy age that we live in. God wants me to remember that whatever time I am afraid, for myself or for my children, that I can trust in Him.