The past three days I have spent most of my time reading on my new book for school. Basically all it contains are biographies of missionaries from history. I have cried more than once as I read about their struggles, their victories, what they gave up, yet also what they obtained. Many lost wives (yes, multiple wives) on the mission field... many lost children to disease... it was nothing unusual to have more children die than live in one family. Many men had to leave their families in a village or back in England in order that they could travel from village to village and town to town to share the gospel with the natives. They endured sickness, starvation, bleeding feet from horrific walking conditions... all of this is not to mention the verbal, physical, and emotional abuse that many missionaries endured from the people whom they were seeking to share Christ with!
How hard it is to fathom such a life! In America we live in such ease and comfort with no true understanding of a different lifestyle. As I have read, a deep respect for these missionaries has grown in my heart. Tonight, after finishing a section of reading, I sat down with my dad and watched "Beyond Gates of Splendor"... the story of Jim Elliott, Nate Saint, and three other men. I had never seen the movie before, even though we owned it. The movie helped bring to life a lot of what I had been reading about; how people would go into tribes and how many saught to adapt to the lifestyle of the natives in order to connect with them and bring them the gospel.
What a harvest of souls has been gained by God through using so many people who were willing to forsake all for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ!