By Kevin Moore (Missionary in New Zealand)
What do you do when you’re working your dream job (teaching Bible and missions at Freed-Hardeman University) but your heart is pulling you back to the mission field? Why not ask for a leave of absence? You’d be surprised at how little resistance the administration raises and how happy they are to not pay your salary for the next couple of years!
A mission team is formed. A mission field is targeted. A plan is developed for establishing the Lord’s church in a city where it does not exist. A departure date is set. Fund-raising commences. Our house is prepared for renting, and renters are secured who sign a lease and agree that if they move out before our return, suitable replacements will be found. One-way airline tickets are purchased. We are on the proverbial fast-moving train, and there is no stopping it, no getting off, and no turning back. Then come the challenges.
Due to the economic recession, after eight grueling months on the fund-raising trail and only four months from our departure date and final pay check, zero support has been committed. But we press on. The other members of our mission team start dropping out until all that is left is our family. But we press on. After our departure, in less than a week the renters had moved out of our house without finding replacements to pay the rent and cover our mortgage. Then my wife falls and breaks her ankle in three places, requiring surgery, eleven days in the hospital, and months of rehabilitation. Our vehicle is rear-ended and written off. The cost of living is higher than we anticipated, and the currency exchange rate consistently moves in the wrong direction, decreasing our monthly income. Is this God’s way of telling us that what we’re attempting to do is not His will? Or could it be something else trying to hinder us? It can’t be the former, because we know what the divine will is – go, preach, make disciples. So we press on.
Despite the financial struggles everyone is facing, the support that we need eventually comes through. New renters move into the house we left behind and cover our mortgage payments. Without the original team of co-workers, we solicit the involvement of nearby Christians who prove to be an even greater asset to this new work. My wife recovers. Our vehicle is replaced. The budget is tightened and the family does not go hungry. More importantly, souls are reached, and in just over a year the church of Christ has been planted and is growing where it had never been known before. God has blessed us and this work beyond anything we could have ever imagined!
In recent years I have heard a lot of “church bashing,” but most of it seems to be coming from those who have never stepped out in faith and seen the Lord working through His church nor opened their eyes to witness the generosity and faithfulness of God’s people. It’s easy to sit around and complain about what’s wrong with the church. But if we present ourselves as willing instruments in our Father’s capable hands and persistently go about His business, we will experience first-hand all that is right with the church.
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
Special to TFR