As I prayed about what God would have me write today and say to you about “how to pray for missionaries,” I was reminded of a speech that was given many years ago by the famous Paul Harvey called, “So God Made a Farmer.” This speech was a speech given by radio broadcaster Paul Harvey at the 1978 Future Farmers of America Convention. The speech was first published in 1986 in Harvey's syndicated column. Then several years ago I heard a “take off” version of that but it was related to missionaries and I want to ask you to click onto the link and listen to that short video clip first before reading any further. It is only 4 minutes long but very helpful in understanding the “heart” of a cross cultural missionary.
Today, I want to ask you to join us in praying for a few cross cultural missionaries that partner with us in a very special way on a regular basis through Grace Language School and through our church family at Baan Athitaan Church. We do not want to give out too many details for their own “security” purposes so please just remember these names: Keith, Taran, Cody, Jayda, Alexa, Del, Michael, Hope, Daniel, Gary and Mem, Kim and Gahn, Jon and Chrissy, Travis and Naamwaan, Jim and Jin, Jim, Jack, Susan and many others who all serve on the field here in Northern Thailand and are active in our church family.
I think I speak for most of us when I say that this is a time of year that is full of heightened emotions and adjustments. It is great because of the receptivity to the gospel that we see as we share it at Christmas time, but we also miss our friends, relatives and families of origin that we would normally spend the holidays with. For many of us, our children are grown and most of our relatives are thousands of miles away during this time. We are honored to be serving on the field and do not want to “stray from the course God has for us,” but it is a difficult time of missing family, friends, and loved ones.
We are deeply connected to our friends, coworkers, and the people we have come to serve here in Thailand, and are involved in many outreach events almost every day, but our hearts also long to be with our families and friends back home. For example, Hope and I deeply miss our children and grandchildren who are scattered all over America. Our oldest daughter, her husband and our first two grandkids are in North Carolina. Our second daughter, her husband and our third grandchild are in Tennessee. Our oldest son is in Atlanta. Our youngest son and his wife are in Michigan. This was mine and Hope’s first Christmas without any of our children since 1988.
I can’t remember the last time we had Christmas together with my mom, brother, Hope’s dad, sisters and relatives. I would love to walk up to my mother and give her a hug and say “Merry Christmas Mom. I love you.” I would love to go over to my brother’s house for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day and have a meal and celebrate Christmas with both of our families. I would love to spend time with Hope’s Dad and sisters and their families as well. Those are desires that we have tugging at our hearts this time of year in a way that is very difficult to pen. Please understand and pray for your missionaries, especially those that are long term missionaries. This is the time of year that we really do have struggles and we really do need your love and your support.
Also, please pray for continued bonding with nationals who, in some ways, function as family and also pray for openness from the people we are trying to reach with the gospel, that God might open doors wide for the gospel seed to bear much fruit.
Prayer Example: “Lord, we thank You for raising up people who are willing to follow You wherever You lead them to go. We thank you for Keith, Taran, Cody, Jayda, Alexa, Mic the reminder that they really do struggle during this time of year. Please help their families understand the call You have placed on their lives and help our missionaries to stay the course and rest in Your perfect plan for their lives. Help us, Lord, not to forget them but to reach out to them in a special way this year. May You wrap each of our missionaries and their children in Your arms of love and bless them in a special way. Help us do our part in reaching out to encourage them this Christmas and New Year as well. Open doors for them for the gospel and help them see that You are with them. We pray this in Jesus name. Amen.”
I want to thank all of you who have been praying for us and reading these updates each day. I pray that they have helped you to see what an awesome God we serve and how deeply our Lord loves all these unreached peoples living in and around Northern Thailand and how He has invited us to join Him in His great work.