This morning in church we had the founder of Global Eye Mission speak about his experiences as a medical missionary and how he has seen the provision of medical care to those in need open doors to share the gospel where it would never have been received otherwise. He told the story of when he was called to be part of a mission team in Tanzania.
He went to a predominantly Muslim village where evangelists of the Gospel regularly had stones thrown at them and where a Muslim converting to Christianity would typically experience death threats often carried out. His role was as an ophthalmologist who performed numerous cataract surgeries that restored sight to people who had been blind for years.
After several days of providing this much-needed medical aid, he attended a gathering at which the evangelist in the group presented a bold statement of the Gospel of grace. He remembered thinking that surely this was going to cause a riot and some stones being thrown. But instead, when asked if they would like to learn more about Christ, dozens of Muslims in the audience raised their hands.
Last week we had another missionary give our sermon message. He and his wife were involved full time with Eastern European Missions. His emotional and moving story of how this organization brings light into a world darkened by three generations of communism and atheism was incredible.
He shared how this whole mission had been started by a church in a small town in northern Minnesota that invited some teachers and students from Russia to visit them. By showing these people love and care, they were able to pave the way for the Gospel to be shared where it was illegal for so many years.
These missionaries are examples of people who have given up a comfortable life here in the United States to go out to a world in need of both creature comforts and the message of salvation through Jesus Christ. It is a challenging life, to be sure. But when you hear missionaries like this speak it is easy to see that the reward they receive is well worth the sacrifice.
As I listened to the Global Eye Mission speaker this morning, I wondered to myself why it is so hard for me to share with those close to me what these missionaries travel halfway around the world to share. They show incredible courage as they face possible persecution and death at every turn, going into places violently hostile to the Gospel. Why then do I lack the courage to share the love of Christ and His offer of forgiveness of sins with my own family and friends who don’t know Him?
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
Isaiah 6:8 (NIV).