My friends Diana and John Lewis served faithfully as your North American Mission Board (NAMB) missionaries. John was a palliative care chaplain. Diana served as a church and community ministries missionary. They were featured week of prayer missionaries in the spring of 2007. Diana remembers vividly the very day millions prayed for them. John had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Hospital tests on that day would reveal the extensive cancer that would take John’s life three short months later.
Diana says, “It was really hard sitting in the hospital waiting on results, but we had extra strength because we knew so many people were praying for us. Cards and notes and letters came in the mail, enough to fill two large boxes. I would read cards as I sat by John’s bed those three months. I remember one bundle of cards sent from a Girls in Action® group. Children had decorated and signed the cards. The message of one said something like, ‘Don’t worry about tomorrow. Strength for today is all that you need.’ That card was just what I needed because that’s how I had to live my life. I read that card every day when he was sick. It reminded me when I got weary that I would not have to worry about what would come next. I just needed strength for the day.”
Diana is now retired. I asked her what it meant to be a missionary. She said, “I took it very seriously that I represented each person in every church that gave to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering®. It was a blessing for us to be allowed to do missions work in Arkansas.”
Diana believes in prayer. “Don’t give up praying even though it is something we can’t see,” she shared. “We live by faith and not by sight. To pray for the lost and missionaries you will never meet in this world is very important. Those prayers strengthen and encourage missionaries in their work.”
In addition to being a NAMB chaplain, John was an artist. This old weathered church is one of my favorite paintings. The art (pictured above) is entitled The Faith Still Stands. It was on the cover of John’s celebration of life service. As you pray for NAMB missionaries during the Week of Prayer for North American Missions, ask God to help them stand firm in their faith.
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful” (Heb. 10:23).
Some missionaries at this moment may be facing difficult personal situations. May they not lose heart. The faith still stands.
Some missionaries may feel alone and isolated. May they not lose heart. The faith still stands.
Some may feel persecuted or their motives questioned. May they not lose heart. The faith still stands.
For some, progress may be painfully slow. May they not lose heart. The faith still stands.
Whatever struggles come their way (and they will come) may our missionaries not lose heart. The faith still stands.
May God give our missionaries strength to keep faith no matter what.
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