Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret was recommended and lent to me by a friend, and I am so thankful she wanted me to read it. One of the things I learned, that I never knew, was that George Mueller helped financially support most, if not all, of the missionaries there in China under the China Inland Mission. I have always had such great respect and admiration for George Mueller, for his reliance on God, and his care for the children in his orphanage. The lessons learned from his faith when he literally had nothing inspired me. Then to add to that the knowledge that the money he could have rightfully used in his own “mission field” he send to others who were just as needy as he was. What a conviction! Of course, the life of Hudson Taylor and his wife are just as convicting. What I have gone through since arriving on the field in Scotland pales in comparison to what they dealt with while serving God. Mrs. Taylor died at 33, which is the age I am right now. Before her death she buried three children in China and sent the others to England for their education. I cannot imagine the grief and heartache to see her children die and her others leave her side never to see her again. And here I get worried when my finances are low enough to be unsure of whether I can pay my electric bill.
We cannot compare ourselves to others, but at the same time I believe it’s wise to take from what we learn of other missionaries who have gone on before us and apply their experiences to our lives.
What of modern missionaries who have suffered? I think of Martin and Gracia Burnham. Just ten or so years ago, they were captured by Islamic extremists and marched through a jungle for over a year at gun point, with death threatened on all sides. Martin didn’t make it out alive, but Gracia did. Just this past year, a missionary husband tried to save some kids from drowning and in doing so, lost his life. His wife and family are still carrying on the work God has called them to. There was a missionary family here in Scotland who served faithfully for many years until the husband ended up with a brain tumor and ultimately went home to be with the Lord. Their children were all grown, but the wife is still faithfully serving where God has put her. There are many stories like these that have happened even in the last 10 years. So I have to ask myself, am I willing to truly sacrifice for God? My heart’s desire and longing is to say, "yes." I have so much to learn about trusting God and following him, and I am very thankful that other missionaries have such an amazing testimony that we can learn from and follow.
My prayer and longing is that no matter what happens and no matter what God has asked of me that I will do it. Not in my strength, for I have none of myself. It scares me to even put this on paper, but I know that what I am doing now is my ‘reasonable service’ (Romans 12:1). With certainty we all deal with the knowledge that we lack any strength in and of ourselves. Ladies, especially those of us who are single, don’t let satan convince you that you are not worth it. Don’t let satan deceive you into thinking God has not called you! I pray that we all can say at the end of our lives, we followed God and served Him to the best of our ability even when it meant loss and sacrifice. In the end it’s worth it when souls are saved and we reach heaven to live with Him!
Guest post by Deana Hewston, missionary to Scotland