Author Beth Guckenberger went to speak at a missionary gathering in Nigeria. She was impressed with the workers there living sacrifical lives. But when she said this to one of the missionary women the response was suprise. She basically responded don’t be impressed with my sacrifices, let me tell you about the missionaries from 200 years ago. Now there is a story. She went on to share that the typical life expectancy of those early missionaries when they got to Africa was 3-5 years. Many died of disease, others were martyred and some died in wars. Knowing this deadly reality the missionaries would pack their belongings in coffins before they shipped them over. Their church families would host funerals for them, so that people could say good by. They knew they were marching to their deaths in the hope of bringing eternal life to those who lived there. Let me share with you what Beth writes about her reaction to this story:
“Relentless hope. This was a testimony of a different king of hope. I recognize it now when I see it; it is relentless in its nature and added to it is a faith in a God who sees it all. Like two sides of a single coin, faith and hope when rooted in love make a spirit virtually unbreakable. These pioneer missionaries were setting out to a huge unknown, believing in a call they had from someone they had never seen. They had hope in a country with little fruit. Hope in a future generation who would need to continue the cause. Hope in an eternal reward, waiting for them. Not casual hope, not hope when it’s convenient, but a relentless, barreling-toward-it, life-changing, deal-breaking hope.”
What kind of hope do you and I have and exhibit for the world?
Under His Mercy,
Derek Dickinson, Minister
(Quote from Relentless Hope, Beth Guckenberger, 31)