I’m sure every missionary would give a different answer to that question. It all depends on where they’re from, which paradigms they have, how they view life, which denomination they’re out of, what their role is, and the list goes on. As for my husband and me…. we pioneer, create something out of nothing…. and we started in a way in which most don’t have to, nor would I advise anyone to, unless they knew beyond a shadow of a doubt it was the way for them. After paying our last bills in the States and without any promise of support, we left with $200 to our name.
We have to be extremely self-motivated, because if anything’s going to happen, it will be because we made it happen. I think, one of the weirdest part for me is learning not to worry about what others think about us. They don’t seem to understand the decisions we make – why we move where we do and do things the way we do. My only answer to all of the above would be CONVICTION. Besides the Lord Himself, souls are the most important factor in it all. If I didn’t believe that what we are doing is HIS WILL for us, then I’d be working for some interior decorating company, joining a band, and driving a sports car (well, maybe a honkin pick up) and being a witness through all of that.
Let’s see… we have left friends, family, possessions, and last but not least, a consistent income. I’m sure you’ve heard that marital problems are often linked to financial stress. I would be lying through my teeth if I said Brandon and I haven’t been challenged in this area. And, baby, let me tell you right off the bat, that just because you’re struggling financially as a missionary does not mean you are out of the will of God. Far from it. (hello, look at Paul. he’s just one example). We don’t have permission to work or start a business here. We are not eligible for any government assistance. Working overtime doesn’t produce any extra income. We are completely and solely dependent on freewill offerings.
When we tell people what we do and that we need their money, they really just have to trust us blindly, because we’re not in Africa with pictures of babies with swollen bellies to show. Although we do help the poor and needy, most of our work is spiritual – you know, the side that makes sure their eternity is in tact. Honestly, I’m not surprised when people don’t jump up and scream “I believe in you! I want to give you whatever I can!” So, when people sow into our ministry, I am humbled, blessed, and extremely thankful. It’s one more person telling me that God is for me.
You see, getting people saved, healed and delivered is the EASY part of missions. The hard part is gritting your teeth and saying, “God, I trust you. Lord, you are my provider. Help me to do what I need to do, and I trust you to do your part.” over and over and over again. Bottom line: As a missionary, you have to be determined to stick it out through the good and the bad – like a marriage. If anyone really knew our financial situation, they would gasp and not believe we’ve been all over the place and ministered to thousands upon thousands. Because in the natural, it’s just been impossible.
Only by the grace of God. He enables us. He strengthens us. He is our Hope, Future and Promise. When I was about 14, a lady was praying for me and held me in her arms and wept as she kept repeating these words: “It doesn’t cost. It pays! It doesn’t cost. It pays!” I have come to find out that well, it does cost something – family, friends, things you hold dear, and unpleasantries, but what the Lord was telling me through that was that the reward in the end far outweighs anything I could ever keep holding onto. Besides, the longer we stick it out, the better it gets. Of course, nothing compares to the joy of seeing people healed of cancer, come into the Kingdom of God, be set free from depression, get a job which the Lord provides, etc. etc. etc. – in places where most have no idea of who Jesus is. When the late Lester Sumrall (a preacher) was asked how he made it as far as he did, his answer was simply, “I didn’t quit.”
He that loses his life for my sake will find it. There you have it.
Listen to my audio download on “Finding Happiness” here: