Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Missionary Or Moochinary part 2

Missionary Or Moochinary? Part 2

Remember our friends that we met with a few days ago? (see previous article) They were flat broke and at the end of their rope. They were not asking us for money (although the Holy Spirit led us to give them some). They wanted to know what to do. How could we live joyfully on the mission field? How could we meet the needs of our family? How did we handle the constant stress of NOT? Not having this, that or the other.

As we shared Scripture with them, first of all about the sin of worry and of walking by faith, we moved from the spiritual side of depending on God to the practical side of faith. I asked what they did to raise money? What was their plan?

They felt like virtually every missionary that I have ever met feels. They did not like to ask for money. They did not want to appeal for funds. They did not want people to know that they were having such trouble, but at the same time they wanted help solving the problem. They were praying, but there was no shoe leather to their faith.

They were missionaries, not moochinaries. They expected God to provide for their needs, and for others to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit and give, but did not want to ask.

Being a moochinary stinks. Being a missionary is wonderful.

Take a minute as you read this and think about what it would be like to be a missionary. Forget the imagined glory and the quasi-spiritual, super Christian ideal. Walk with me down the corridors of reality on the mission field.

You cannot work on the field because of two reasons. One is that you do not have a work visa and cannot get one—it is illegal to earn money. The second is that the working conditions are so bad that if you could work, you would not earn enough money to support your family or do ministry, yet:

  • Your one year old needs milk.
  • Your family needs a home.
  • Your kids need shoes.
  • You need electricity, gasoline, propane, water, internet, phone, food, clothing, shelter…the necessities of life.

Yet, you cannot work in the country in order to purchase these basic items.

You look at your ministry. You want to provide teaching, training, and instruction to people. You want to meet their spiritual and physical needs. You want them to attend events, have access to books, information and education. Yet, they cannot afford to feed their family, so how can they further or even begin theological and ministerial training? (Point of fact: I only know one full time pastor after three years of being in Bolivia). You want to meet their needs and help them grow spiritually, but you have to buy diapers for the baby.

Here is what it is like to be a missionary.
  • Every single thing that you own.
  • Every thing that you do.
  • Every purchase that you make. Whether we are talking about a car for the family or fruit for the kids, from paying the electric bill to underwriting a pastor’s conference…imagine this…everything in your life is dependent upon someone else paying for it.

Your life is the result of someone’s donation.

How would you feel if EVERY purchase no matter how big or small, need or desire, personal or professional, could only happen if someone in another country was generous?

Can I be honest with you?

I know that I am a missionary, but many times the devil makes me feel like a moochinary.

So how do you handle the struggle? How do missionaries survive on the mission field? Next time, same battime, same batchannel.


Rich said...

Good stuff, Joe. Looking forward to the next part.

Stumbler said...

Really interested in this Joe.... you've got me hooked!