Thursday, May 12, 2011

What Matters Most

In speaking on science and religion, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes stated, “Science makes major contributions to minor needs whereas religion, however small its successes, is at least at work on the things that matter most.”

As I prepare for another two weeks away from home to teach a small group of missionary students in Ukraine I need to be reminded that, no matter how small the task may seem, what we do as missionaries does have meaning. In this world of materialism, even the church is caught up in that which they can seen or touch. As I pack my bags I think of the countless hundreds of my colleagues who are laboring with little fanfare under difficult situations. I am thinking of a brother in Uzbekistan, who wrote,

“The day before yesterday I was driving home and my wife called and told me to come quickly. There was a crowd of people at the gate who wanted to come inside. My wife shut the gate and would not let them in and they acted like they were going to break through the gate. They started yelling at her and shouting threats against her. Only a couple of these men presented identification. It was at this time that I arrived home and saw what was going on. They told me to open the house and I asked the police officers to present a warrant before I would let them inside. After a few minutes one police officer showed me a written complaint from people in our neighborhood. The complaint stated that there was a Christian family in the neighborhood and that the Christian man was poisoning the rest of the neighborhood with his beliefs. It said that they didn’t want a family like this living in their neighborhood. I could not see who filed the complaint and when I asked for a copy of it I was denied.

Later, Shukurov, the head of our neighborhood, came to our house and began shouting that in this neighborhood it is unacceptable to not be Muslim. When I tried to calm him down he started swearing at my wife and children. Then, he began to threaten us with eviction from the neighborhood.

Please pray for the safety of my wife and children. Every two months the police check my passport and documents and I notice them writing down information about my wife and children. They confiscated my passport as well. Pray for wisdom and also for my court date. Thank you very much for your prayers and encouragement. This is now the most difficult time: the period of waiting.”

To you who pray and support missionary endeavors, may I encourage you to remain faithful in the vital role you play in world evangelism. To my fellow cross-cultural workers, may we take courage in what we do, knowing that even though the successes may seem small, we are working on what matters most.