Skip to main content

I Still Believe in Foreign Missions

Our ministry sold. 

Problems with a son. 

Low financial support. 

Dwindling ranks of missionary colleagues.  

Low numbers on the results board. 

Doubts and fears.  

But I still believe in my calling and my faithful God.   I still believe in God's Word.  I still believe in the power of the gospel.  And I still believe in the need for cross-cultural missions.

Today in church circles and publications we hear the resounding cry:  Let's not send any more missionaries from the States to foreign places, let's just support national works.  Mission agencies are pulling out of many old fields, selling off properties and moving on - to allow national churches to move up to the task.

But I still believe in the need for American missionaries in foreign countries.

N.E. Brazil regional BMM conference, 1979

On the other side of the missionary coin,
 I also still believe in the Indigenous Principle of Missions.
I still believe in that old "start churches that will become:"





The problem is that churches and camps and schools and ministries are all made up of people. People with unique circumstances living in unique places.  Plans and Vision Statements and Programs don't always allow for the unique needs of specific places.


So how does today's missionary deal with with trying to start churches and works in places where people have no money, no training, and even perhaps oft times, no food.  What can a missionary do in a third world country to start and maintain a high cost camp or a high tech seminary or school?

Missionaries like us, work to find "nationals" who can fill our shoes and move into positions of leadership.  We start looking on the day we arrive and never stop.  We look for ways to utilize funding and start up self-sustaining profit for ministries.  

It might be as simple as building a parsonage for the local church to have a home to offer a pastor and planting fruit trees in the back yard so the family will have a ready supply of vitamin C.  My husband's father was a sort of Johnny Appleseed of the missionary world making sure the church property he built up in Northern Brazil was full of trees that would give the future pastor lots to eat.

It could be looking for a start of industry that could support a work, like the tilapia project that my husband began for the island camp where we worked in Bahia.  It could be the two years I spent teaching English for a salary that went to help with our own support and as a result with the support of our ministries.

Sometimes it might mean letting go of high cost projects and finding ways to substitute needs with ideas that a local church community can continue in a self-supporting manner.  Sometimes it might mean selling off camps and schools.

But I still believe that Brazil, in particular, needs American missionaries to reach places where funds are needed in the upstart, to make an impact, and to do the will of God... that's why I hope to go back in August of this year to start the next twenty years of my family's work in that great land.

References and Further Reading:
"Indigenous Missions"
"Global Needs"


Popular posts from this blog

What's Next?

That seems to be the question every one asks us these days since we've arrived back in Sobradinho.  What's next?  What are you going to do now?  Where are you going?  A few people ask about how the boys are or things about my grandbabies or parents.  But not too many.  This week three people asked when I could start teaching English to their children again!

So what is next for The Athas in Brazil?  If you were able to attend one of our furlough meetings, hopefully you have some sort of idea.  If not, I'll try to give a brief answer to the big question.

Remember that trip we took all over interior Bahia back in the fall of 2017?  We visited over 200 communities over the course of about two weeks all within a few hours of where we live.  You can back to my post about it and review some of the details here...

Bahia Road Trip

Byron and I plan to begin evangelizing some of the nearest and neediest communities that we visited on our trip.  We came back with evangelism materials.  By…

Pressing On - Marriage on the Mission Field

That's us on our first furlough in 1998.  Byron was 33 and I was 32.  No gray hairs, no flab, two cute little MK's.  We'd been married for about 10 years and on the mission field for 4.  We stayed in Winston-Salem that year at one of the mission houses of Pleasant View Baptist Church.  We stayed for a whole year.  Byron worked some for a friend with a automotive repair shop that year and I stayed at home with William who was almost 4 and baby Dalton who turned two while we were there. We traveled together to visit all of our churches that year and made several big trips to Georgia and Maryland to visit with family.

Our first term of service on the mission field had been rough.   Language school, learning the ropes, figuring out how to deal with colleagues, two new babies, low finances.  Somehow we had made it through together.  We were okay and things were alright.  Now we were first term survivors on our way back.

Byron and I had met in Bible college.  We had some classes t…

Our Graduate

This Friday evening the youngest of our clan will finish up high school and move on to the next stage of his life - summer!  Oh, and then college and what not.

It's been an incredible eighteen years...

Greyson was always a cutie-pie with his blonde hair and blue eyes in a country where that was a rarity.  Word is that when he was around five or six years old on the island camp people would ask to take photos with him and that he would oblige for a small fee.  Cute and knew it?

For the most part he's been a joy, even though he doesn't comb his hair very often and making his bed doesn't come easy.  Perhaps his musical right sided brain could never deal with the structure of making a bed each day?  I'm hoping he'll learn at college!

As the last in the nest, Greyson enjoyed a few years of being an only child.  Byron and I got to take a long awaited road trip around southern Brazil with Greyson in tow.  We made some great memories and enjoy some sweet bonding moments...