Torturing Missionaries

We have all heard of the persecution of Christians in others lands. I have heard many sermons that told the suspenseful trials of missionaries abroad. Some have no doubt been tortured. Being a pastor here in the USA I know nothing of the trials and persecutions that missionaries face. However, I fear that I have tortured missionaries in my own way. You may be thinking to yourself, “WHAT!?!?!?!” Stay with me. I feel that I can sum up my participation in torturing missionaries in one word…

Furlough.

My understanding of furlough is a time for missionaries on the foreign field to come back to their home country, see family, and report to supporting churches. Often times this is a period of several months with some furloughs extending to a year. While missionaries get to spend some time with family, a much greater amount of time is spent in a van traveling the country reporting to their supporting churches.

So how is this torture?

How many pastors do you know who would like to leave their churches in the hands of another person for three or more months? Especially when that person does not know the people that you have invested three or more years of your life in! Even if you choose a deacon from your own congregation, is he prepared for all the difficulties that arise in the ministry? I totally understand that Paul reported to the churches that supported him. And I believe that missionaries should report to their sending churches. But I think it is absolutely torture to ask these men to leave their ministries behind for such a long period of time.

So how can we do it differently?

Here is where the wonder of technology comes into the picture. In our last missions conference we had one of our overseas missionaries report during a service through an internet ‘phone’ conversation. I hooked my laptop speaker output into the sound equipment and had a conversation with the missionary while everyone listened. Total cost for the cables and such? Probably less than $20. Cost to the missionary? Besides some lost sleep because of having to get up in the middle of the night to report: $0.00. Think about it: missionaries could report to sending churches on a much more frequent basis; people could ask questions; it really is just like having them present.

I truly wish that every church in America would have their missionaries report this way. Think of the money that would be saved. Think of the added work that the missionaries could accomplish by staying with their ministries. “What about seeing their families?” you may ask. I think that missionaries should come home and spend a couple weeks, or even up to a month, with their families. Without having to travel the country reporting to churches, missionaries could spend quality time with family and friends. But we have another word for this type of activity: vacation.

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3 Comments on “Torturing Missionaries”

  1. Rory Pereault Says:

    I know several missionaries who would agree, especially those in the eurozone when finances are already very tight.

    Technology cour save churches and missionaries a fortune. Missionaries I know come back from furlough and have to take a holiday.


  2. I see that you posted this blog almost 2 yrs ago! 🙂 But I am new to the blogging world, so I just discovered it.

    I REALLY appreciate this post of yours! My husband and I (and 3 little girls) are missionaries in Southern Mexico. To get to our home church (Redeemer Baptist in Aurora, CO) we have to spend almost a week in the car. THAT is torture with 3 very small children. Not to mention SO expensive! I totally support your idea of web-chat visits.

    • pastorwit Says:

      It has been quite awhile since I have posted anything new, but it is good to hear that the post rang true for someone else. Thanks for taking time to comment.


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