It is an old, abandoned, run-down building, meant for greater things, but neglected and discarded. It illustrates the depth of the disappointment I felt yesterday. Not all the news on the field is going to be good news. We all know that, but it is still discouraging when we discover that things have not all turned out right. Missions work involves people, and people (even church leaders) sometimes disappoint you. When that disappointment also means shame upon God’s name and his kingdom, it hurts all the worse.
Some of the disappointments we feel are due to clear attacks of the enemy. For example, two of the ministries we heard from yesterday are being seriously compromised by new government regulations. One couple had to abandon their dream to work as foreign missionaries because the target country will not allow it. They still hope to go some day, but we cannot send them. Another ministry has literally saved the lives of almost 200 babies, condemned to be sacrificed to a village’s goddess. Now, the government is telling the ministry’s leader that he must pay a large fee for each child he has rescued. The angels weep.
Many of the men and women we talked to yesterday were suffering from serious setbacks, and had all kinds of problems. It was hard not to be discouraged along with them. In the end, all we could do was pray with them, and promise to share their stories with others who can also pray. We wished we could solve their problems. But today is a new day. Those same courageous men and women are going back to work, determined to serve the LORD in spite of the disappointments they face. They are heroes of the faith. The world is not worthy of them.