Adults on Mission Blog

Unsung

Perhaps no other group of people are more familiar with persevering in a demanding, often mundane, and emotionally painful world than the community of caregivers.

  • Peter Rosenberger has logged over 30 years of caring for his wife, Gracie, a double amputee.
  • I have a Facebook friend who is over 10 years post-stroke, meeting the multiple daily needs of her husband.
  • My sons had a teacher whose retirement package included five years of round-the-clock care following her husband’s brain hemorrhage.
  • I was the mother of a special needs daughter who faced major care challenges in her 19 years of life.

Books have been written about the blessings that come with caring for those rendered helpless in different phases of life. But with caregiving also comes the difficulties of isolation, identity loss, and exhaustion. It calls for daily sacrifices that clearly represent self-denial, taking up one’s cross, and persevering in a task that will not see its greatest reward until heaven.

A Dubious Honor

I once received an “award” from the editor of HomeLife magazine! But it was probably recognition that no one else wanted. At a Lifeway writers workshop, I was acknowledged to have received more rejections for submissions to HomeLife than anyone else in the room. 

Perhaps my fellow writers wondered why I would confess to the number of rejections required for the award. But I felt differently. I knew those rejections represented necessary stepping stones to eventual acceptances. My perseverance in continuing to push past the sometimes painful “doesn’t meet our needs” comments later paved the way for positive results. I even received a cover story assignment from HomeLife editors who began to recognize my name and refusal to surrender without a publication victory.

Jesus and Jack

In late Winter, with great trepidation, I make my annual trek to a local accounting office to file my tax return. However, I know I will also spend an extra hour listening to my exuberant accountant share about his most recent mission adventures.

Jack Roach is a respected local CPA. But anyone who knows him has no doubt that his considerable energy and strongest passion is directed toward sharing the love of Jesus through ministry. Besides local work in jail ministry, Jack’s lay-led mission projects take teams of volunteers into risky corners of our globe to share the gospel, provide practical service, and encourage believers.

I know, besides my tax results, I will be inspired by how Jack perseveres in prayer for a young Muslim girl who calls him “father.” His burden and the giving of others enabled her to receive medical treatment. We join Jack in longing for the day she embraces the Light of the World and comes to know the “Everlasting Father” through the salvation of her soul.

Why Wait?

Do you wait well? Or do you give up quickly if the line is long, the results aren’t immediate, or a prayer isn’t answered? Sometimes the fulfillment of even a God-given vision takes more time than expected and tests our capacity to persevere.

I have been inspired by the perseverance of my friend Doug as I have watched him hold fast and “chase after” his God-sent dream. For several years, Doug, a local architect with a young family and church leadership role, has vigilantly pursued his vision for a children’s interactive Bible museum in our city.

He has patiently (or not!) sought support, funding, and possible locations while gathering a creative leadership team to provide counsel and a support base to brainstorm and bounce off ideas about decision making. He has also developed extensive plans and story themes while pursuing community dialogue and involvement from local citizens and churches.

Called to Action

I love being active. I love playing sports and games, exploring new neighborhoods, and doing hands-on projects that show others love and compassion. This call to action is apparent in our Christian life in many ways. Nowhere in Scripture are we told to sit tight and watch the work of the Lord. We are called to take up our cross and follow the Lord—through action. This is great news! We get to be an active part of God’s plan for His people.

For many years, I’ve been active in missions, taking trips to places like Thailand, Haiti, and even Iowa, but God has more often and with more impact called me to action in the places I have lived. There is nothing like the joy of seeing a friend or neighbor come to know Christ. There is greater love shared through continuous relationship with those hurting around us.

Simple Love Goes a Long Way

Three weeks after I moved into my new apartment, I met Kana. Kana and her daughter had just moved in across the hall. The immigrant single mom had recently lost her job and didn’t have much outside support.

After a couple of “hellos” in passing, Kana and I ran into each other one day as she was looking for a job. We had a long conversation about her recent hardships and how discouraged she was; she also expressed deep gratitude for her new home and how she hoped this was a starting point for her and her little girl. As I stood and listened, I realized how much she needed the love and support of a family. I told her about my church and how much it means to me to have a church family to support me when things are hard.

Voices of Annie

Each year as Easter rolls around, I look forward to hearing the voices of Annie. Some of the voices are male, others female. Some speak with a heavy French accent, others with a southern twang like me, yet others with a western drawl. Each voice is sweet and strong, speaking passionately about how God is using him or her to fulfill His work in North America.

These are the voices of North American Mission Board missionaries supported through the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, telling their stories on videos provided by NAMB.

To view the many videos, visit AnnieArmstrong.com. Prayerfully select the videos to share with your group.

Kimberly Sowell reaches thousands of women through her speaking and writing ministry. Visit KimberlySowell.com for more information.

Get Creative for Annie Armstrong

Looking for some great ideas for how to promote the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions? There are tons of ways to promote missions, and missions offering seasons are great times to get creative. Here are 3 ideas to incorporate into your plan:

  1. Do a FaceTime or Skype call with a North American missionary. If he or she is not available during your meeting time, consider asking the missionary to send you a video.
  2. Host a special prayer meeting for the offering. Use the time to talk about specific needs across the United States and missionaries serving in cities and to pray for specific people and needs.
  3. Invite a church member who has been on a domestic missions trip to share about his or her experience serving in a missional context. 

Pray and help create a plan that will increase your group’s heart for missions and, in turn, missional giving.

Christy Dyer is a North American Mission Board church-planting team member serving through missions engagement and mobilization in New York City. To read more about her ministry, visit BrightHopeBigCity.com

Easter Bracelet

One spring afternoon, I invited the women in my section of the neighborhood to come to my house for a finger-food supper and Easter fun. We shared food and exchanged pleasantries and then I handed each woman a paper plate covered in beads, thread, and a bracelet clasp. Beginning with the Last Supper, I shared the Scripture of the Easter story, instructing the women when to add the next bead of the story. A brown bead symbolized the bread, and a deep purple bead the wine. A flower bead represented the betrayal kiss in the garden. The women listened intently to each set of Scriptures, waiting with anticipation to find out which bead came next.

Halfway through the story, one woman said shyly, “Excuse me; do you mind if we stop for just a moment? I left my boyfriend when I came over for the party, thinking I’d just drop in for a minute and come right back, but I’ve decided I want to stay. I just want to call him and tell him not to wait on me.” What a beautiful confirmation that this Easter party was God’s idea to share Christ with my neighbors!

Glorifying Jesus

We want our life, our work, and all that we do and say to glorify Christ.

We pray, read our Bible, keep the commandments, and guard our marriage vows. We show compassion to others and follow the Golden Rule. We are involved in church and strive to trust Jesus more. We exhibit a good work ethic.

All those are indeed vital to living a life that pleases Christ.

Lloyd Stilley, pastor of First Baptist Church in Gulf Shores, Alabama, noted that there is something more we can do to bring even greater glory to Jesus.

“Serving Christ by serving others is your destiny in this life,” Stilley said. “If serving Christ by serving others is your destiny in this life, then the best possible way to serve is by leading another person to Jesus.”

Helping someone come to forgiveness in Christ is the utmost service that a believer can do for Him, Stilley said. Telling an individual how to receive Jesus Christ as Savior is a Christian’s “best possible work.”

That brings glory to our King!

Leigh Pritchett lives in the southeastern United States, a missions field that is “white unto harvest.”

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