Tuesday, June 28, 2011


"Oh, that I had a thousand lives, and a thousand bodies! All of them should be devoted to no other employment but to preach Christ to these degraded, despised, yet beloved mortals." --- Robert Moffat

Some of my most favorite people in the world are missionaries. Some are short-term, like my daughter Anna and Betsie's best friend Candace who are serving this summer on Adventures in Missions Ambassador teams for high schoolers, while others are long-term like Dudley and Inge Donaldson who live in Swaziland and minister through the Zion Bible College to church leaders.

And even though I personally believe that serving overseas as a missionary is one of the biggest blessings a person can experience, I also know it is often a tough blessing. Just being far away from family and long-time friends is hard and then you add on other challenges such as language learning or safety issues.

Prayer is essential for missionaries. Yes, they need our financial support and emails and care packages, but they absolutely must have prayer support. It simply is not an option.

And in light of that, I wanted to ask you to pray for some missionaries that are in my thoughts and prayers especially this week.

*Dudley and Inge Donaldson were in a car accident today while driving back to Swaziland from South Africa. They hit a cow after dark. The car is demolished. Praise God, Dudley and Inge walked away from the wreck. Dudley does have some glass in an eye so pray for that to be dealt with easily and keep on praying for their safety and the safety of other missionaries. Dangerous road conditions are an every day reality for many, especially those living in 3rd world countries.

*The Gerber Family, Adventures in Missions staff in Swaziland, need prayers as they mourn the loss of Jumbo's dad. His mother passed away last year and his dad had moved over to Swaziland to live with them. Jim and I had the blessing of meeting him when we visited with them last year. His dad deeply loved the Lord so we know he is with God right now, but he will still be greatly missed.

*The Espy Family has just returned to Thailand after a short visit in the States. Just after Betsie and I left Thailand, where she had been living with them, they received word that Chrissy's brother had passed away. They had to scramble to make travel plans and fly back here to spend time with their family. One of the hardest things missionaries face is when they lose loved ones back home, especially parents or their children. Pray for them as Chrissy mourns his loss and Jon ministers to her. Also, pray for them to have the financial provision they need in their faith-based ministry and they continue to learn the language and adjust to their new life in Asia.

*My friend "B" and others who are fairly new to the mission field and still adjusting to living in a fishbowl. Because when you are one of the few Americans in a foreign place, privacy can be a premium. As though adjusting to a new culture with new food and manners isn't a big enough challenge, getting used to always being stared at and having very little opportunities for alone time can also be a major adjustment. Pray for new missionary families as they learn to have new family dynamics that are healthy even if they are different.

*My daughter Anna and her team have now been in Thailand for a week. They are going most nights to the main road where the bars and brothels are located. While the older short-term missionaries go into the bars to minister, Anna's team stays out on the street and prays and talks to the bar girls and tourists as God gives them opportunity. Pray for them as they fight against intensely dark forces that revel in the bondage, lust, and abuse that reigns there. Pray also for the safety of these teenaged and 20-something women as they are surrounded by drunkenness, licentiousness, and men who have no respect for women.

*Betsie's best friend Candace is in Nicaragua doing a variety of ministry outreaches. Last week, they did a Vacation Bible School and helped lead services at a church. This week they visited a city dump where they met entire families, including children, who spend their entire lives digging through the trash heaps in search of things they can sell or eat or use. Things they need to simply live. Candace's team served them a meal and sought ways that they could bring love and hope to those living in a place filled with hopelessness and rejection. Pray for Candace's team as they are seeing and experiencing poverty in ways that most of them have never ever seen. Pray that they won't give in to despair that would tell them that there isn't anything they can do to make a real difference. Pray that they will be able to just focus on loving the one that God puts in front of them. Pray that they will find God ordained ways to effectively communicate His good news with them despite the language and cultural barriers.

*My son David leaves this week for his missionary training camp. He's done inner-city ministry with us and he's been to Mexico with his dad and two siblings for a few days with a mission team from our church, but this will be his first time to go on a ministry trip without us. Pray for traveling mercies and protection from disease. Pray for his team as they get to know each other and learn to work together in unity. Pray for each of the teenagers that they will learn to listen to God as never before and grow in their willingness to follow Him no matter what. And pray for their team leaders to have all the wisdom and discernment and abilities that they will need as they guide these young people on this absolutely amazing God adventure.

Thank you for joining with me in praying for these faithful ones. As someone who lived in Africa for two years, I can attest to the fact that your prayers are one of the most powerful and loving things you can do for them.

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