It’s easy to find reasons not to go
Posted on: 20th April 2021
For these CMS workers*, keen to return to their location, COVID has been a season of thwarted plans and interruptions. There are good reasons to remain in Australia, but they are convinced of the need to go.
On the subject of overseas cross-cultural mission, I keep hearing in my mind the words of a Christian leader who once said to me, “It’s easy to find reasons not to go. But it’s hard to find reasons to go.”
Reasons to stay
Right now, there are plenty of reasons for us to give up on the idea of returning to location. The borders are closed. It’s likely there will be longer term challenges for international travel. It’s probable we won’t be able to return to Australia immediately for an emergency once we are there. We’ve been given opportunities for valuable ministry here. We have family here. And yet, these reasons aren’t unique to us right now.
We remind ourselves that, prior to last year, ‘going’ had become relatively easy over the last few decades. The ease of international travel and communications had smoothed the process. But we also remember that God never said it would be predictable or convenient to go. And God calls his church to take his message to all nations—even now.
We also recognise that many Christians are truly unable to go even if borders were open.
To experience this commitment, almost as in a marriage, is a jaw dropping testament to our covenant–making God and has been a comfort in some very low times.
Committed to going
As a family, we frequently reflect on what is wise regarding our children and the health of ageing parents. Yet at the same time we remain committed to going and serving God overseas and we wait for borders to open.
We had originally planned on a January 2021 return. Then, due to border closures we had to delay to April. Now it is clear it will be longer than that. Only God knows how long!
Nobody likes uncertainty, and even a decade and more of learning to be flexible gospel workers hasn’t prepared us for quite this level of shifting goal posts and lack of control.
Sustained by fellowship
Outside of God’s faithful, firm foundation, the one thing that has calmed our hearts and helped us to keep trusting is the support of our CMS family. Financial giving and prayers for us and our future have remained constant over the last 20 months.
It’s hard to express how humbling and encouraging it is to be supported in this way, and how grateful we are. The consistent response to our gratitude has also been an encouragement. “We signed up for thick and thin,” is the common reaction. To experience this commitment, almost as in a marriage, is a jaw dropping testament to our covenant–making God and has been a comfort in some very low times. We thank God.
Last year we were able to serve within our CMS branch in a number of ways. With one eye on vaccinations and another on visas and borders, we’re taking time to be refreshed and to consider how we might best use this extra time to serve him.
The love, prayers and care of the CMS Fellowship is essential in sustaining missionaries, especially during difficult times. Find out here how you can support missionaries both on location and in Australia.
* The names of these cross-cultural workers and their location has been omitted for privacy reasons.