To all who send.
We have sat in your kitchens and living rooms, drinking cup after cup of tea and coffee, swapping stories for hours. We never, ever leave feeling empty.
You have yet to run out of interest for what we do; you share our hope of seeing God’s kingdom come in the earth’s darkest corners. You ask such wonderful questions. Sometimes I get chills when I meet some of you, because it is clear you have been praying, and it is clear that you pray like you mean it.
You boldly say farewell to us—and sometimes we wonder if we’ll see each other again in this life. If we didn’t know better, perhaps we would be insulted that you send us forth with such joy and excitement. But we do know better, and we know it is because you love the Gospel, and Gospel-love doesn’t cling to anyone but Christ.
Lots of folks would define a missionary as someone who acts as the hands and feet of Jesus. Oh, but we could never live up to this role without you! You who rejoice that we can go and yet mourn our absence, you parents who will spend holidays faraway from kids and grandkids, you friends who wish you could be going too, and can’t. Truly, you are the hands and feet of Christ to us. You who send us with your prayers and your resources, constantly encouraging us with your words. You act out the love of Christ to us and we are overwhelmed by your grace, your intercessions on our behalf, your love for complete strangers and faraway communities. You plant orchards; investing in a crop you might never get to taste. But for such selflessness on your part, we could do none of this work.
We go out in strength because of you. We stand upon your shoulders. Your love reminds us that God dwells in the presence of his people and renews our resolve to go forth with the Word. We grieve to be so far apart from you, and yet we rejoice to be your yokemates, carrying together the news of redeeming Grace.
“I stand on the shoulders of those who cannot see the landscape I describe. I owe them far more than my weight.” – Betty Barnett