Today I heard of two more who have left everything to follow the Lord, even to the ends of the earth. One who is now on her way to Kenya, and another family on their way to China. It is exciting to see more and more answer God’s call to go to the nations. And personally I can’t wait to see and hear how the Lord will use these for His glory. How He will use the nations to change them for His glory.
Yet, there are also now a few more families back home, who are dealing with the pain of saying goodbye. The fear of the unknown, and the ache of not knowing when they may see each other again.
I’ve realized that harder than leaving it all to go to the mission field, harder than living in a foreign land as a missionary. That harder still it is for the families left back at home.
Oh these families rejoice that their loved ones have answered His call. They are bursting with pride over their loved one’s desire to follow the Lord. Yet, the hurt remains.
I know because our family has left our loved ones twice now. Once to serve in Korea and now in Central Asia.
And though it was hard to leave, hard to say goodbye. Life for a missionary is busy, a little complicated, and yet fulfilling. The missionary is doing what God has called them to. He/she is getting to do what they have always longed to do. (Not that it is always easy, and not that there are not days when he/she wants to go home).
Yet, for the loved ones back home… life somehow has to go on.
So to the loved ones back home, the one’s who have watched teary eyed as their child or grandchildren have boarded a plane to fly to the ends of the earth.
I want you to know it is okay to cry. It is okay to miss them. It is okay to write them, call them, email them. And yes, they need your prayers.
But, God also has a purpose for you.
He want to use this time in your life to change you for His glory. He wants to use you to tell the stories of your loved ones, giving others a heart for the nations as well.
And though, you will watch at a distance as your loved one experiences the path chosen for him/her.
Your life will go on, and God can and will use you right where you are.
A great article put entitled, “Does Missions Separate Families?” put it just right. They said,
Does missions separate families?
Yes. For a time.
But it also expands them. By inviting the lost into a family. Those who had no family, no hope, who were on the outside and separated from God. (Ephesians 2)
There may be a few empty seats at our next Thanksgiving dinner. But by those seats being empty, it will mean that other place settings are being made ready for the Wedding Supper of the Lamb. Because lost brothers and sisters who live across the ocean, whose skin is darker than ours, whose language is different than ours, will be invited into God’s family, and will be called for the first time sons and daughters, and will be given a place at His table forever.
One day we will come together, all of us, those who were far off, and those who were brought near, as one family, with exploding joy. And there in the presence of Christ, we will see that missions never separated our family at all.
It only ever made it grow.
Your loved one may have left, but through your loved one, God will grow His family. And one day, you too will meet those whom your son/daughter impacted for the nations.
To the loved ones back home, your missionaries need you. They need your prayers, they need your encouragement, they need to know they have not been forgotten. They need your love and they need your support.
For just as it is important for the called to go, it is just as important that the one’s back home send.
How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!
You play a vital role in the missionaries call, and work!
So thank you to the loved ones who are left back home. How precious you are in the eyes of the Lord.