When I was a child I loved to read stories about missionaries, full of adventure and miracles.
As an adult, I joined the missions committee in a large church–I was again secretly thrilled by stories of “secret agents for Jesus” who went into closed countries where they risked imprisonment for sharing their faith.
This spring (2016) I had the opportunity to join a representative of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) World Outreach to pray with and for workers in a Southeast Asian country.
They are some of those “secret agents” for Jesus. I admire them greatly, but it was not because of their thrilling lives. Rather, I admire their perseverance and love for the people they live among.
These workers don’t live among a primitive people in the jungle, but in a big city crowded with people. They face stresses that may be similar to yours.
- Where should I send my children to school? Is this move the right thing for them? (Often the older children, especially, feel like they don’t fit in anywhere.)
- How do I care for aging parents who live far away (over 9000 miles)
- Where do I find work, which I need in order to get a visa into the country? If I lose my job, it may mean moving–not just to another city or state, but 9000+ miles back to the USA (retirees have different challenges).
In addition, they face stresses that you may not have.
• Unfamiliar food.
• Always being “different” or “other”, even when they have made friends.
• Having to learn another language just to talk to neighbors.
• Constant heat and humidity.
• Continual flux in the team (people on furlough, others joining or leaving the team)
• In the midst of all that, how do you stay faithful to the call that took you there in the first place? Prayer and language learning and meeting people and developing relationships all take time.
• Facing all of challenges while living in a country where you could be arrested or deported for simply sharing your faith.
What these workers ask for is what we often ask our friends for: prayer.
Prayer for perseverance; prayer for their families; prayer for the people they are seeking to reach; prayer for “people of peace” who are defined as “those who welcome us, like to be with us, and attempt to serve us in some way;” prayer for changes in social and political systems that embody opposition to the Gospel.
The challenges are many, but the rewards include the joy of serving Jesus and rejoicing in seeing the Kingdom of God grow.
If you would like to join in ongoing prayer for these “secret agents for Jesus”, contact PRMI’s Prayer Coordinator, Mary Ellen Conners at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 828-669-0026.