From a Missionary Friend

The Ministry of Suffering

 

We go to teach them.  They are watching.  When struggles, difficulties, pain and suffering come, they are carefully observing.  Do we quit?  Do we lose heart?   Does our faith fail?  Physical suffering has been a recurrent theme in our lives, especially over the past few years.  It was just 3 years ago that Chris discovered a tumor on his carotid artery, and, I developed severe asthma that has been difficult to control.  If you look in the back of my Bible, I record highlights of ways God blessed or worked each year.  Many of them have to do with physical miracles. One of the of the most memorable was when I didn’t die from a venomous scorpion sting.  But, over the past couple of years recurrent bouts of sickness have left me feeling that I was less productive than I used to be.  But, they were watching…

This past November, I was sent to a neighboring country for medical care.  Surgery did not go well and I had to have a second surgery for complications.  As hard as I tried; I just couldn’t recover from what happened there. 

And, they were watching…

So, I returned to the United States in January and was seen by one of the top surgeons in the world for the specialty that I require.  Rather than telling me what I expected to hear, that I needed to have surgery and could then return home to Armenia, he told me that it will take 3 operations.  Broken-hearted that we have to be displaced from our home and ministry, we are also grateful to God for His provision for healthcare.  It is something that so many do not have.

 God promises us in His Word that we will have suffering, trials, afflictions…  Yes, He promises us suffering.  It helps us to know Him better and draw near to Him in a deeper and richer way like nothing else.  But, as someone who is overwhelmed by the masses of lost people, when I can’t DO something I begin to feel frustrated.  But, it was the night before I left to return to the States this time that God revealed something so very important to me. 

People we have led to Christ, discipled, trained, and with whom we have partnered, came to pray over me and say goodbye for now.  And, they began to share that they have been watching.

 They shared that they have learned more from watching us during trials than from the trainings and classes over the years.  They shared that they have been more greatly inspired to serve and a revival has been taking place in their lives and in the church these last couple of months, as a result of this trial in our lives.  Tears poured down my face as I listened.  I was deeply moved and humbled as I realized that God was bearing fruit through them and was somehow using my pain.

When we are weak, He IS strong.  Praise be to God Almighty.

Share Christ boldly.  And, if you are suffering, bear it patiently.  Others may be watching.  God may be working through your pain to do more than He could through you otherwise!

This missionary is currently undergoing those surgeries. Please pray for the missionary and family as they struggle for Christ. May He be glorified in their suffering!

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