Last week I had the opportunity to spend five days at the Annual Conference of Baptist Mid Missions  in Elyria Ohio. It was an absolutely amazing time that the Lord used to encourage my heart.
- Through strong Biblical preaching
- Through workshops that gave practical help for challenges Missionaries face
- Through fellowship with other Missionaries
- And opportunities for short-term ministry placement while the Visa process is completed .
What encouraged me more than anything though was the knowledge that other people have struggles like mine
You see Missionaries are “unique people”  who therefore face “unique challenges” that few people will understand except for other Missionaries
Unfortunately missionaries have little opportunity to discuss those challenges, and how God helps them since all of the time is spent ministering to others. This becomes a problem because over time Satan can make us (missionaries) believe that we are the only ones who struggle with those challenges. And of course this leads to our acting as if everything’s fine when it isn’t.
Something like the Annual Conference allows us to step away from work for a few days and become honest about some our needs, which always reveals we aren’t the only ones struggling.
Thursday morning I ate breakfast with some missionary friends from India who had never eaten a “french toast stick” (poor souls). As we finished one of them asked why my return to Australia was delayed and I spent about five minutes giving an answer. Once I finished she looked at me and said “that’s exactly what’s happening to us!” .
That simple phrase had an incredible impact because Satan loves to tell me that I’m the ONLY ONE who EVER experienced a delayed return to the mission field…and that’s just not true.
Thinking about that breakfast reminds me of the Prophet Elijah in the Old Testament who in discouragement complained that he was the only one who still stood for God in Israel . God responded by telling Elijah there was there still 7,000 people faithful people in Israel  and soon provided Elisha as a prophet to continue Elijah’s ministry
It is true that most people haven’t gone through the unique challenges I face, but that’s okay, because each of you go through struggles I couldn’t comprehend. We can praise God however that there will always be individuals who can not only understand that challenge, but share how the Lord brought them through it.
- The Missions organization that I am a part of ↩
- I’m working on some options for this at the moment, hope to have more specific info soon ↩
- not just anyone will leave family and friends in the US and go to a foreign Country where they know very few people ↩
- technically there are some small differences, but the situation is basically the same ↩
- I Kings 19:11, 14 ↩
- I Kings 19:18 ↩