Why I Am a Missionary

Why am I a missionary?

I have been asked that question many times. 

The simple answer is that God called me to missionary work.

Here is what I have written about the day the Lord clearly spoke to me regarding missionary work:

"During the summer of 1980, while Cheryl and I were vacationing at a relative’s house on Lake Champlain, the Lord called me to missionary work.  While reading Mt. 6:24 the Lord spoke to me from the text “You cannot serve God and mammon.” I knew instantly that He was calling me to leave the things of this world and dedicate myself unto labor for Him. I knew I could not have two masters and play some sort of game trying to please them both. He made it clear to me that serving Him in the gospel was the best choice I could make, but there was no real choice: I was compelled."

As true as that is, there was much I had to overcome to get to the field. There was the temptation to not go and to continue to pursue material success; there was the temptation to cave in to family pressure and not go; and the temptation to not go because we did not have the funds.

These were real temptations; but then again, only to a point, because after all, I was compelled.

Cheryl has her own story, but hers and mine have one point in common:  we both realized that the things of this world fade away, and in the light of eternity, they can never satisfy. We want our lives to count for eternity. We both take 2 Cor 4:18 seriously, "For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are unseen, are eternal."  Jim Elliot's statement, "He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose," influenced me strongly.

I also came to the realization that missionary work is the only work in the universe guaranteed to succeed.  The Lord Jesus said that all whom the Father had given Him would be saved; none would be lost. (Jn 18:9) Is not that guaranteed success?  What other activity has the 100%, un-conditional guarantee of God to succeed?

I believe Jesus Christ, as the Creator and Supreme Ruler of the universe, is ordering the affairs of this, His universe, in one single, co-ordinate operation, to effect one goal:  the saving of His elect from every kindred, tongue, tribe, and nation. It is not oil, world economics, international terrorism, ISIS, China, or whatever other factor might be in the news; it is Jesus saving His elect from out of the kindred, tongues, tribes, and nations where he scattered them. It was He who scattered them in each of those places (Mt 13:37), and now, at the perfect time for each region, it is He who is sending forth His heralds (missionaries) to proclaim His offer of peace (the external call), and the Holy Spirit (the inner call), and saving them.

He awakened me to these facts, calling me (no, summoning me) to go forth with His gospel to those who had never heard. My training, in accord with New Testament methods, began in 1983, then in 1999 our home church commissioned me to full-time missionary work, and we took up our labor among the Angave people of Gulf Province, Papua New Guinea.