One year ago today I resigned as a missionary from the IMB to pastor a church.
I'm not sad I resigned; a little melancholy, perhaps.
I first started with the Board in 1989 when I was appointed under Keith Parks as a Journeyman to Hong Kong. During that time, I helped to plant a church in Kowloon, New Hope Baptist Church. I was honored when the church planting team agreed on my suggestion for the name of the church, for at that time, (pre-1997) no one knew what the future of HK held with China looming overhead. Everyone was afraid and had lost hope.
It is fitting that I ended my missionary "career" in Hong Kong. After a tour in West Africa, then in East Asia, we transferred to Hong Kong. I honestly thought that we would retire with the Board and become "Emeritus", but God had other plans.
Most of our missionary service was "support". Not a very glamorous position, but necessary nonetheless. We considered ourselves to be like Aaron and Hur, providing support to Moses has he did what God called him to do.
We loved serving in West Africa. Africa is like a huge goldfish bowl where missionaries are the fish. It is like that to some degree in Asia, but it is much more severe in Africa. We experienced so much in our first term there. God transformed us and He used us. He allowed us to serve in both little and big ways. I pray that He found us faithful.
Then civil war.
We left the land and people we loved and followed God to Thailand. Again, we had a service of service. No glamor, unless you like being in AGM videos (which I secretly did). [OK, perhaps not SECRETLY!] The work there was email intensive. I joked that "I used to be a missionary, but now I answer email for a living". That wasn't far off. But what we did, and what they still do, is extremely important to keep the mission machine working.
If you have a missionary to speak in your church and they say something like "well, I"m only in support missions" or some other nonsense like that, please do your best to affirm them and encourage them in their work. I would rather be found faithful doing what I was called to do, than the alternative. Wouldn't you?
Thanks for sharing your story - and the beautiful pics.
I will say it has been nice to be on the journey with you and Sally. : )
Rick...and I want to affirm you and the decision you have made...
There is no doubt you have a pastor's heart...and a pastor's love for his people...
One day, in God's time, He'll reveal why the change in direction...
Until then, rejoice in know that He is in control!
One year ago you took our girls away! Thinking of your family and proud to call you friends! Much love, Sandy and Carol
Thanks to everyone for their kind words.
I and my husband are ones that followed you in your missions and follow you now. You are a blessing Rick, both then and now.
And one Sunday, I promise, Merrill and I will get over to your church in Waggoner.
It sounds like you are still a missionary!
I have really enjoyed following your your journey through your blog. Keep it up!
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