Thursday, April 20, 2017

Adventures in Africa or Suburbia

My friend, Linny, has used YWAM's (Youth With A Mission) books about missionaries for many years, reading them to all their children.  Recently she talked about one book on her blog, A Place Called Simplicity and YWAM heard about it.  They offered her readers a special price on a set of 5 books, with 10% of the profit going to Linny and Dwight's ministry, International Voice of the Orphan.    There are some great stories about missionaries!

Today I listened to a man share his story on the Hillsong channel.  He and his wife had been missionaries in Saudi Arabia, starting many underground churches during the time that they lived with their family there. They were from India, but felt God call them to start underground churches in a Muslim country.

Years passed, their churches multiplied, and then the government found out what they were doing, and told them they would have to leave the country. The man and his wife sent their kids back to India right away, and they stayed behind to pack up.  Unfortunately, the man was arrested and taken to prison just 10 days before he was scheduled to leave.  He was in solitary isolation for 1 month, interrogated for hours at a time nearly daily, and spent 6 more months in prison before they released him.  He has no regrets because he did what he felt called to do.

It took me back to our days at The Lutheran Bible Institute.  Many of our teachers were once missionaries and one in particular had suffered greatly in a Japanese POW camp.  His fingers were all broken and not re-set so they now bent at angles....he had his finger nails removed too.  As a Christian he suffered greatly for his faith.  He was a faithful man of God who empowered all the students who sat in his classes.

I remembered Gracia and Martin Burnham, who were missionaries in The Philippines.  They were captured by terrorists and held captive for a year.  They survived many difficulties, but her husband died and she was shot when the Filipino military found the terrorists and assaulted the camp.  Gracia and her family loved living in the P.I. and felt called by God to do so.  Their son is in mission work, flying the same kind of plane his dad did.  Jim and Elisabeth Elliot went to South America in the late 50's where Jim and others were massacred by some of the tribe they had hoped to reach.  Later Elisabeth went back with her family to work with the very people who killed Jim.  There son has worked among them also.

Of course, Linny's daughter Emma and SIL are missionaries in Uganda where they take care of orphans with many special needs.  They are in the process of buying land to expand The Gem Foundation.

Joel's cousin, David Simonson, is buried on the land the Masai gave the family.  David and his wife Eunice spent over 50 years bringing Christ to the Masai tribe.  They started the first girls schools also. His wife and I believe 4 of their 5 kids still live and work in Tanzania.  Jim Klobuchar wrote a great book about their story, entitled The Cross And The Acacia Tree.  I am always so blessed by these stories. What courage to follow their calling.   Ordinary people who have changed the world by being obedient in God's plan for their lives.

There are times like today that I still "wish" we had gone into the mission field, but we believe it was not God's will.  God has a plan for every single one of us, and that plan is to help change the world.  It may not be across the may not be as a pastor or a missionary.  It may be as a business man, musician or homemaker.  It may be you are the one in the kitchen serving others at the church....or in a shelter.  Whatever the plan, it is for His purpose.  What is required of us is obedience to that plan, that leading, that purpose.  We are all destined to fulfill His calling on our lives.  Whether on African soil, in the jungles of the Philippines, or in your own backyard in suburbia.  We need only lift our hearts and voices and say..........."Yes, Lord."  The adventures will follow!

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