March 29, 2012 4 Comments
Hungry. No, starving. She hasn’t had a descent meal in over eight months. Rice is all she’s lived on. She’s grown weak, and she’s exhausted. She’s tried so hard to carry out her mission, but how can she when she feels so alone? Her clothes hang over her frail body like loose rags. It’s nearly impossible to drag herself out of bed in the mornings. She doesn’t just feel like she’s surrounded by people who hate her and don’t want her there, the people do hate her and wave her off, telling her to go back home.
But today is supposed to be a good day. Today she should be receiving a care package in the mail. Gifts from her brothers and sisters who care. Today is going to be a really good day.
She travels nearly twenty miles by bus to the post office. To her delight, the box is there, waiting for her, with her name on it. The contents inside of it are for her! Her fingers flirt with the flaps of the box on the bumpy ride back home, but she wills herself not to open it just yet. What will be inside? Pop tarts? Bars of soap? Letters of encouragement? This is going to be such a good day.
When she gets home she squashes another roach on the kitchen counter. For the first time, she’s not thinking about the heat. She is just thinking about the contents inside that box. She grabs the scissors and cuts the tape. She holds her breath as she looks inside.
The first thing she pulls out is a brown pillowcase with a hole in it. She sets it aside. She tries to feel grateful when she holds up the next item in the box – a little boy’s t-shirt with cartoon characters on it. A packet of saltine crackers is next, followed by two bottles of water and a 4-oz tube of toothpaste that will probably last her a week if she rations it. There are no notes in the box. Nothing to convey sympathy, support, or encouragement. Not even a phone number to call, or an email address. She had been right. No one cares.
I’m not making this story up. The girl is fictitious, but there are missionaries scattered throughout the world who live like this every day. These are brothers and sisters who have sold everything they own to move away for several years to be among a people who don’t want their company or their message. They have taken up the call to bring the Gospel to the ends of the earth and the best we can do is send them a bottle of water or some used clothes.
I read a while back that missionaries are grateful for support, but the thing they want most is company. Not all of us can drop everything and go visit the missionaries, but we can contact them, and find out from them directly what they need us to send. Let’s not just feel content dropping a few bucks into the offering plate. Contact the guy who’s in charge of missions at your church and get a directory of their names and emails right now. (And if your church doesn’t have a list of missionaries that it supports, find a new church!) Send them a message, a verse, anything – heck, tell them what they can pray for you about! Build friendships with our brothers and sisters… read their blogs, pray for them.
You may not hear very happy stories from many of them. But we are called to bare each other’s burdens. Listen to their stories, find out what they need, and act accordingly. We’re all called to spread the Gospel together. Let’s embolden each other to carry out that all-important task. It just so happens that on this day on March 29, 1943, the U.S. began requiring Americans to ration fat, meat, and cheese to help win World War II. These were just the beginning of the long line of sacrifices made on the home front. “Do with less so they’ll have enough,” read a poster from the Office of War Information. If Americans could sacrifice for a slightly lesser cause, how much more, then, should we sacrifice for our brothers and sisters, on the front lines of the great cosmic war?