Yesterday, Pastor Byron shared from his heart during the service. You can hear the sermon here. The other significant thing that happened was a luncheon for one of our missionaries, Rachel. She and her fiance, James were present for a meet and greet Q & A after the service. Due to Rachel and another missionary that we support, Hilary, coming to town in October, I thought it would be good to write a post about how missionaries show the Heart of God.
To date, TGP gives roughly 20% of our giving to missionaries. This is how we have tithed as a church body. The money goes to spread the Gospel in ways that don’t directly benefit us. So in this week’s post, I will discuss 3 ways that Missionaries show the heart of God.
Fulfills Great Commission
At the end of Matthew 28, Jesus leaves the disciples with the commission to “Go into all the world and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them all that I have taught you.”
Every Christian is to be part of the Great Commission. Most will be stationed in their local areas, investing in long-term relationships in their communities. We spread God’s love through conversation, through creating value to the community, and through communal service, sharing our faith as we go.
Then there are those who are called to specific parts of the Great Commission: Evangelising, meeting the poor and oppressed to help them out, bringing resources to meet physical needs, bringing prayer and miracles to impact lives when physical resources are either scarce or non-existent. All of these are true and valid ways to connect with people and sharing the faith.
One of the best things about hearing from our missionaries is the stories they tell about lives impacted in different ways. We hear testimonies of miraculous healings, salvation received, and lives changed because of the efforts of missionaries who said “yes” to the call. Missionaries are willing to go where most people are not willing–to a foreign land, to a people not their own. Such is the love they have for God, the people group they are called to, and the mission they received.
Brings Needed Resources to the Ground
Another way missionaries share the heart of God is by bringing needed resources to the mission field. I have only known short-term missions in Peru and Czech Republic. The needs were different in those areas, for sure. In Peru, there were very strong, established Evangelical churches. What they needed from us when I was there was a catalyst. For those who didn’t know the Gospel, Americans served as a drawing point to share God’s love. And that tends to be the standard for short-term missions. For the longer-term missionaries on the ground, they helped bring much needed experience in organizational planning for outreach and leadership development, as well as some financial assistance.
In Czech Republic, a largely Western country, it wasn’t leadership and organization they needed, but a different perspective. In a country that is largely atheist, my short time there showed me bringing a different way to look at the world, with a Christian worldview was a powerful tool for the Gospel. Missionaries are greatly needed in these countries. And with that, what is known as the 10-40 window has a completely different set of needs. It is a region of the world that is closed to the Gospel. It is often illegal to share one’s faith and lead others to believe. It is also a region where physical needs are great. Many don’t have access to basic health care, education, or sanitary living conditions.
Both Rachel and Hilary have been doing work in areas largely unreached with the Gospel. Due to immediate needs, Rachel ended up pastoring a local church for a while until her team was established. She recently shared that the first day of her pastoring and the last day of her pasting both had a Muslim person come and give their life to Jesus–a sign that God was doing a work. Hilary has been using her medical training to meet the physical needs of people in the Indian Ocean region. This has opened doors for conversations, prayers, and salvations.
Hilary has been able to send some inspiring videos of her journeys throughout the Indian Ocean. She has shared about how medical needs were met, how people have come to believe in Jesus who had never before that time had access to the Gospel.
Both Hilary and Rachel have brought much needed resources to the ground. Beyond the idea that resources = money, they have brought leadership, medicine, guidance, and a whole lot of Jesus love to a people who haven’t had previously.
Invests in Our Heavenly Family
The third way missionaries share the heart of God is by investing in our Heavenly Family. 1 Timothy 2:4 says, “God desires for all to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.” By our missionaries saying “yes” to the call, they are sharing the Father’s heart for “all” to be saved. They are taking up the task with courage and love to go to where people don’t know Jesus and introducing them in the context of loving relationships, in the context of meeting physical needs, in the context of bringing resources to establish a thriving faith.
Each country and region has its own unique set of needs. The Lord knows what the needs are and places them on people’s hearts, equipping them to help meet those needs. By their willingness to go and do the work of the Gospel as missionaries, they are investing in our Heavenly Family. They are bringing brothers and sisters into the faith that we will meet in eternity. They are sowing the seeds of love, redemption, forgiveness, new life, and God’s family into the lives of those who have never experienced that. The work they do may not be seen by us this side of Heaven. Yet we know that when we partner with our heavenly Father, all things will work out for the good and nothing will be wasted. We know that God’s word will not return void, so everything our missionaries do for the Gospel will bear fruit for eternity.
So as we celebrate and honor Rachel and Hilary this month when they are in town, let us remember that what they are doing is as important for the kingdom of heaven as what we are doing here in Lake County. We have different calls for the kingdom, and our heavenly Father honors and provides for it all because it is close to his heart. If you can remember, put these sisters on your prayer list and lift them up as they strive to work for our Father with love in a world different from ours.
This post has been a focus on Rachel and Hilary because they will be in town this month. Yet we do have several missionaries that we support both financially and prayerfully. We’ll hear more about them both through their newsletters and as they come.
Thank you for being a part of TGP and helping support our missionaries. By doing so, I hope you are better able to experience our Father’s