We recently had a Sunday School lesson on Missions, and missionaries, and for a few minutes we talked about the stereotypes that come to mind when we talk about missions. We also talked about why missionaries do missions. At that time the thought, ‘because they are crazy’ was the one that came to the forefront of my mind.
Like I mentioned before, I just finished John Leonard’s book on evangelism, and at one point he diagrams a Normal/Not Normal and Crazy/Not Crazy scale for Christians and non-Christians. Quoting 2 Corinthians 5:13: ‘If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you.’ He used Crazy/Not Crazy scale to show our relationship with God, and the normal not normal to show our relationship with others.
I’d love to say the ‘crazy’ I was thinking about what the zeal for God that Leonard was referring to, and it some ways, sure, I pray that we are growing in that direction daily, but it wasn’t. It was other crazy. As in, ‘You are moving to France to become missionaries? That’s crazy!
Yes, I know. We’re lunatics (1).
But I think all missionaries are crazy. In a good way. There’s this sense of pressing forward, in futility, despite all odds and good sense, to do this thing. We’ve been told ‘it’s okay to change your mind’, ‘no one would fault you for giving up,’ and ‘what if you don’t make it, are you leaving some things in storage’? To a missionary, even one who’s not even on the field yet, those questions don’t make any sense. No other option seems right.
There are some great missionary stories, like Elisabeth Elliot going back to work with the tribe that killed her husband. With her three year old daughter in tow. That’s crazy! There are a thousand perfectly good reasons not to do that. But God gave her a heart for this mission, and there wasn’t any other option.
One of the missionaries that spoke at CCMI talked about this ministry he was doing for the elderly and infirm. Other ministries had started to take off and that mission was taking it’s toll on him without any visible return. His wife told him maybe he should give it up so he could focus on other work. He felt he had to stay with it and continued on. Crazy. But the ministry blossomed into one of the biggest ministries and was eventually recognized by the local authorities as a positive influence on the city. The Lord uses crazy to advance his kingdom. He gives us the crazy. The crazy faith we need to keep ‘plodding forward (2).”
For us it’s France. We are crazy about the Lord’s work in France. We want to go. Only God knows why, but we do. I believe he put it on our hearts long before we even had the chance to realize it.
I grew up on five acres, down a mile long dirt road, in a county with one Walmart (3). From a young age I had an affinity for different cultures and languages. The one that intrigued me the most was France. The more I learned about it, the more I loved it. I took two years in high school and followed up with eight college courses and a study abroad. Looking back, I could have just as easily had an affinity for horses or hunting, or anything else, really.
So, fast forward many years later, now married, Chris and I felt called to seminary, for him to be a pastor. At the time, the thought of France was far from my mind, but I knew there wasn’t any other option but for him to go to seminary. We didn’t have the funds for more than the first semester of tuition, especially with him quitting his job, but we did it anyway, because we were crazy.
The Lord provided, because He does. Semester after semester, even after our first child, Chris was able to keep going. Then the call for missions came. After a trip to Honduras, we felt it heavy on our hearts. After many talks with our mission agency rep, and a very long qualification process, we were approved for France. France? How did we end up there? Because God is good and he made us a little crazy.
Two weeks ago I asked my boss if all this seemed crazy to him. He said, ‘Well, you are on a mission, and to the people that aren’t on your mission, the mission always seems crazy.’
We hope that all of you know that you are on our mission with us. It’s just as crazy for you all to sacrifice, to support, to love and to pray for us. It’s that crazy faith, and that love of Christ, that keeps us all moving forward. How blessed we are!
It’s crazy to think that God has brought in almost 80% of our support, that there is not much more to go. We can break it up many different ways, but something like (9) pledges of $50/month, (9) at $75/month, and (9) at $100/month and we are there! If you are reading this and would like to start supporting us, you can do so here.
Please continue to pray for us, and if you know of anyone that might be interested in hearing about our ministry, please let us know, we would be happy to get together and to share what the Lord is calling us to do.
(1) We are not actually lunatics. I also mean no offense by using the word ‘crazy’. I meant it in Merriam’s secondary definition, part b and c. We’ve had to take many tests evaluating our mental state in order to go, and we have been formally declared of sound mind, for all intensive purposes.
(2) This was an affectionate way we were prayed for a couple weeks ago, and it was such an accurate description for what most days feel like, and I just had to reference it.
(3) I believe Citrus County now has two Walmarts.