Yesterday was a chaotic but great day. The girl and I zoomed home from Grand Forks as the boy and the huz zoomed home from Sioux Falls. We all had one destination: the missions conference at a sister church where over 14 missionaries represented over different 14 mission fields. As the pastor’s family of a North American Baptist Church, we are familiar with many of the missionaries – many are actually good friends. This was an event we would not miss!
For two hours, we roamed Riverview Baptist Church who hosted the event and enjoyed conversations with friends – new and old. At 5 p.m., we sat down to an international buffet with food from Russia, Jamaica, Africa, and Central America. It was simply de-lish. Better than the food (no offense to the cooks), however, were the testimonies of five missionaries who have answered the call into missions…they go on our behalf to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ in countries around the world. We knew everyone who shared, and that made me happy!
Doug Woyke, a now retired career missionary to Japan (where only 1% of the population claims to be Christian), shared the final words. His words have stayed with me throughout the night and into this morning. He referenced Romans 10:14-15 which says, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
For a few minutes, he elaborated on the joy he has had in being one who had gone. He also thanked those who had sent his wife and him. (ps: We should have been the ones thanking them for sacrificing on our behalf for 40 years) His closing words – some have to go; some have to send – have really stayed with me. There is not a third choice. We either are sent or are the senders. And – at times – perhaps we are both. The mission fields are not only in far off countries but could be in the house next to ours as someone needs to hear the Good News, perhaps for the first time.
As a mother, this hits home pretty hard. I do not hold any misconceptions that my children are my own; I know that they belong to God first, and that He has a call on their lives. If that means they will be called to go to some far-off place, I must be willing to send. I knew that before last night, but it was a good reminder as their graduation from high school comes in two years four months and three weeks from today. But who is counting, really?
That just does not seem like enough time for me to pray for myself to let them go if they are called let alone enough time for me to pray for them to hear the call when it comes…