DO YOU BELIEVE IN MISSIONS…….?
- Joan Kruger
Bill and I have a conviction, regarding missionaries. In years of pastoral ministry, we “never turned away a "USM missionary or World Missionary” who called for a service! We opened our homes to missionaries, who had several nights without services. And provided a motel, if they were in service with us. At least five missionaries stayed with us for a week, and a number of times, we have made our home their headquarters for almost a month, while traveling in our area.
We always added to the missionary’s offering, and taught our deacons that this was the only income that the Missionary had, while he itinerated to bring in a steady monthly income. We never had a deacon who objected. We ourselves, felt impressed to give liberally; we BELIEVED in missions! Often, I would sit for their children, so they could spend a day away from them, enjoying themselves. Our home became laughingly called, “Bill and Joan's home for the homeless.” One year, I recorded one hundred and twenty three guests in our home for dinner. Yes, I cooked all the meals! Was it a financial sacrifice? Most of the time it was! BUT WE BELIEVED IN MISSIONS!
Once, when we were “pressed” financially, I had prepared a simple dinner of macaroni and cheese and a tossed salad. My two boys were small, so I had just finished dividing the macaroni and cheese on our plates, when Missionary Evangelist Gene Jeffrey, arrived unexpectedly at our door, looking tired, hungry and travel worn. As he had stayed with us before, he simply said, “I need a place for several services around the area. Which room do I take, Bill’s or Mark’s? I told him and we were laughing, when I realized I had nothing prepared to feed him. So I blurted out before I thought, “Go ahead and sit down, Gene…you can have my macaroni and cheese.” He’s never forgotten that.
But the real beneficiary of our love for missionaries was, and has been. Bill and I. We fellowshipped with people from all over the world, Africa, to India, to South America. I cannot describe how enriched our lives were. On one occasion, Bob Crabtree, President of ICI in Brussels, Belgium (at that time) called, saying, “Joan I need to spend a week at the University in your city, so need a place to stay.” He still remembers how Mark gave up his bedroom for him. And Bill and I and my sons still remember the funny and serious stories he shared in the evenings. The boys were impressed with his description of the “pig snout” sandwiches, with ketchup running through the nostrils.”
Every born again believer needs to take a look to see if he/she is actually engaged in missions, as that word lays at the very heart of God! There are three serious areas that must be considered if we listen to the voice of God and His Word. And the return benefits can not even be estimated.
When I was a child, pastors and missionaries continually challenged us to surrender to the call of God to go overseas or into ministry. I knelt many times at an altar, saying “take me” Lord…but God did not choose that for me, until I was almost retirement age. The great recording artist, Keith Greene, stated, that “the only reason we should consider staying home, was that we could not go....”
Must Let Go
I heard a Christian say, “I would never go overseas; and I would never allow my child to go over seas or minister to another race. They might get germs and would never really be anybody. They would just have to sacrifice, even be in danger,and their education would be wasted. I will just give money.” I turned sadly away, as I realized that parent did not know that his children did not belong to him…they were only loaned. They belonged to God! And the greatest honor their child could receive would be for God to call them We have not passed the “Challenge” on to the younger generation. Consequently many are “not in calling distance” to hear the voice of God and do not consider it an option.
Must Help Go
Missionaries desperately need prayer support. I know what it is to cry out to God, “Please let someone somewhere pray for me…" Missionaries desperately need verbal encouragement, letters, cards, phone calls…at it’s best the friendship and uplift where they are ministering does not meet the need, as that which comes from friends, churches, and relatives at home. And Missionaries need financial support. Contrary to what some believe, they only receive monies that comes in for them. Supporting the missionary should be on the priority payroll of the church finances, as much as a staff member, a youth pastor, or secretary. They are a part of the local church when Jesus said “Go ye…!”