It’s one of those moments that gets etched into your memory. Aimee and I were leaving our first child, oldest daughter Kaitlen, at Union University in Jackson, TN. Kaitlen’s journey to become a nurse was beginning. Union has a dedication service for the families of all the new students. I will confess to having a lump in my throat as we sang “In Christ alone my hope is found….” for I knew that in a few moments I would hug my daughter and drive away. However, my emotions were put into perspective as I glanced at the mother and daughter standing next to us.
Her name was Amy. She had come to Union to study music. In fact, she probably had traveled farther than any student in her class…..all the way from Tokyo, Japan. Her mom was Ruth. Their family were missionaries to Japan. When the dedication service was over, Aimee and I would drive to Clarksville, about 2.5 hours away. Ruth would head to Nashville Airport to fly to the other side of the world. If something were to happen to Kaitlen, I could be there in a couple of hours. If something happened to Amy, well, it would take days before Ruth could make it to her.
That night at Union helped me understand this truth: things are just more difficult when you are a missionary. I know how difficult it is to leave a child in another town. I don’t know how difficult it is to leave a child in another country.
There is a loneliness that comes with being in the ministry. That loneliness is magnified when you are in another country and, no matter how long you’ve been there, you are still a foreigner.
The call comes to tell you that a parent is in the hospital. We hop in the car and drive to see them, if only for the weekend. Mike couldn’t do that when he recently received that call.
We all look forward to being grandparents. Todd and Sue will have that joy in just a few weeks. But they will probably be in Jamaica when the baby comes. And trips to see Grandma and Grandpa on Saturday are a little more difficult when there’s an ocean to cross.
So I hope you will do something: say a prayer for our missionaries. In fact, will you commit to regular pray for them? Every day? Our CSI missionaries are where they are because they love the Lord and are following Him. They have counted the cost and they know that Christ alone is worth the sacrifice. Let’s help them by bringing them regularly before the throne of grace.