Some of the greatest heroes of the Great Commission are unknown to people but are well known to God and to frontline global missionaries.
We Stayed So That Others Could Go: A Missionary’s Tribute To Those Who Stay Behind By Darryl Record, Missionary to Cambodia I wrote this as a personal reflection. I did not plan to share it with anyone, and then maybe a few. Now, I believe that I should share it publicly because senders need encouragement too. Every sentence is a true story of anonymous, behind the scenes faith. In heaven, I believe that Jesus will name names...
God put in our hearts, a burning desire to Go, but then He called us to stay.
We drove to work daily so that others could fly in airplanes.
No one ever mentioned our name on any Mission Sunday.
We sit in quietly in pews so that others can take the stage.
We buy cheaper food because of the pictures on our fridge.
We slept in tents on vacation so that others could sleep in mosquito nets daily.
Our kids grew up without AC so that others could feed the hungry, who we will never see until heaven someday.
We drove old cars, that embarrassed our kids, when we dropped them off at school.
Because of these hardships, some of our kids grew up tough enough to be missionaries too. This means that we bear the strain of giving to them and sharing their pain when others won’t share with them too. We are tough and committed, but we still have feelings as parents too.
We faithfully read their letters, then battle with envy, when they are harvesting fruit, while we keep literally shoveling manure.
Sometimes we are awakened in the middle of the night, and are driven to our knees, for some random missionary in a far off land, sometimes we hear that our prayers stopped one from needing a blood transfusion, when he had dengue.
Most times we will hear nothing at all until glory. But mostly what we do is sit there with open hearts, Bibles, and checkbooks too, shaking the heavens for some encouraging word for a missionary who is struggling on the other side of the globe. Sometimes God gives us an encouraging word to share, but God mostly speaks to our hearts in numbers.
There are books written about the heroic faith of the front line warriors. But there are no books about the heroic faith of those who stocked the arsenal. But God knows that we sharpened all the swords for every battle.
We may be an unknown member of a high flying missionary support team, but never forget, that without fuel, pilots are only pedestrians.
So while no one will name buildings in our honor, in heaven we will receive great honor from the Lord, because we have not taken any deductions in advance.
We will also meet all of those who came to Christ, because we quietly prayed and trusted.
When we prayed for missionaries, we didn’t just ask for God to rain manna from heaven to meet their needs, instead we shared the fish and bread in that Christ had already placed in our hands.
When our hands were empty, we used our hands and feet to move the missionaries’ luggage.
We gave up our beds so that jet lagged missionaries could sleep.
We loaned missionaries our cars and then rode bicycles down the street.
We, the senders have, and will continue to be, the launchpads, piers, harbors, safety cables, life rafts, lighthouses, supply lines, and military hospitals of the Great Commission. No one knows the brokenness of missionaries like we do.
We know that we are not wrestling against flesh and blood. Sometimes we must battle the powers of hell and sometimes we must battle ourselves and sacrifice our comforts.
In the global spiritual war there can be no civilians. We have chosen to be active duty soldiers instead of casualties.
When missionaries need a hug from Christ, he uses our time, talents, and resources as His hands and feet.
We answered “Send me!” When we heard the call. Then we answered another call, which required much more faith and perserverance, “Who will stay so that others may go?”
A Personal Note: As a missionary, and the son of some of the most dedicated senders, that I have ever seen, I personally have been blessed by every word on the list as a missionary. Your sacrifices are not in vain or unnoticed.
If I can see the beauty of them from ground level, they must be even more beautiful to Christ from above. You have been used by God to touch more lives with Christ’s love and the gospel than I could ever fit into pictures, this is because I am a missionary and not a full time photographer. There are many, whom, even I will never see, who are blessed because of you.
As a missionary, I have missed many reunions of family and friends. Heaven is going to be like a huge multi-ethnic family reunion that is better than anything that we can imagine and it will not have any questionable potato salad, sitting in the sun. But it isn’t time for the heavenly family reunion until the work of building the heavenly family is completed.
Until then, please keep minding the store, because as you do that faithfully, you are storing up treasures in heaven that you may never even see before then. For missionaries, you are part of the blessing that Jesus promised to those who leave everything behind to follow Him.
Matthew 19:27-30 New Century Version (NCV) 27 Peter said to Jesus, “Look, we have left everything and followed you. So what will we have?” 28 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, when the age to come has arrived, the Son of Man will sit on his great throne. All of you who followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And all those who have left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother,[a] children, or farms to follow me will get much more than they left, and they will have life forever. 30 Many who are first now will be last in the future. And many who are last now will be first in the future.
In Christ’s Hands, Darryl April 18, 2019 Phnom Penh Cambodia