Jeremiah 3:51 Mine eye affecteth mine heart because of all the daughters of my city.
This verse came to the forefront of my consciousness during the time that I traveled with my daughter when she was on deputation. Every time I watched her video she used this verse as she talked about how seeing the people of North Africa caused her grief when thinking how they are condemned already.
John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
I never tired of seeing her video when I was with her (I am a bit prejudiced and thought her video was pretty awesome). It never ceased to stir me. Once again my heart grieved for those people who have never had the chance to hear that they are condemned already and that there is a Savior that has already paid the penalty for that condemnation.
We had the privilege of going on a couple of Medical Missions trips before our children went to the field. Our hearts were touched and overwhelmed by the experience. Seeing the need of people, both physically and spiritually, truly “affecteth mine heart”. Our love of missions and the want to help in what way we could grew exponentially.
As much as those trips made a tremendous impression, visiting and seeing an ongoing work on the field made an even more dramatic impact. We were blessed to visit our daughter in North Africa after she had been there a year. She was settled in, set up and had attended language school almost one year. How very impressed we were! I understand that she was not fluent at all, but to see how much she did know – for me, who understood nothing, it was impressive. Her dad and I swelled with pride. She had taken on a tremendous task of moving to another country, adjusting to a million differences, learning how to do with what she could find (not really doing without just adjusting to using what she had), and learning different cultural aspects. My admiration for missionaries (as well as for my daughter) grew “3 sizes that day”.
On that trip we also were able to visit with our yokefellows. Witnessing everything from living on the field to an active work in progress was also eye opening. Seeing the adjustments that have been made and the love for the people there made me also have love for them. The stories of people they have reached inspired me. One lady who is basically in hiding from her Muslim family because she became a Christian. Others, their families rejected them because they became a Christian. What would I do in the same circumstances into which these people have been placed? I don’t know because I have not faced those circumstances, but I would hope that I would stand strong as they have.
That was an inspiring trip. My admiration has grown. My love for missionaries has grown. I was challenged.
Fast forward to a year and a half later. It is time for my son and his family to move to China. We volunteered to travel with them to help with the kids on the trip (obvious ulterior motive when you mention the grandkids) and whatever else we could help with while they start getting set up. We had no idea how much our admiration would explode.
Of course we all “know” that when missionaries move to the field they must either take things for setting up a household, buy them there, or a combination of both. However, the reality of starting from scratch to having a functioning home is a whole ‘nother ballgame.
Here are a few things that we got to be witness to “from the ground up”.
- First of all, a place to live must be obtained. This sometimes must be accomplished with no assistance and not knowing the language. Daunting to say the least. This step was basically taken care of before our son and his family left, with the amazing assistance of a team member already there.
- While they did have an apartment lined up, it was basically a blank slate. No furniture, dishes, pots and pans, curtains, refrigerator, food, toilet paper or bathtub. Again, a wonderful welcome with the assistance of the family already there. They welcomed them there with basics of some food stuffs (that did not need refrigeration or cooking), toilet paper, and an air mattress-among other thoughtful welcome gifts. They also lined up some help to carry the many bags up to the apartment.
- The first week there was a whirlwind of activity. Registering at the police station. Shopping for everything from furniture to dishes to pot and pans to a refrigerator, microwave, stove and a bathtub. Arranging to have a water heater installed. Again, thanks to the help of the family already there who speaks the language, things were made MUCH “easier”-as easy as it could be with about a million decisions to be made. AND, don’t forget, making those decisions while dealing with jet lag.
- Learning your way around, bus routes, and how to tell your taxi driver where you want to go when you don’t speak the language.
- Many, many other things were lined up/put in place in the next few weeks. Registering for university as a foreign student. Needing visa changes and passport approvals and physicals done.
This seems to be such a short list compared to all that was done. But to witness that first hand made me admire those who do this. Even more, those who do not have the advantage of the assistance of a family already there. It is almost beyond my comprehension to go somewhere that you do not know the language, have no one there to assist you and do this on your own. Add to that having a couple of little ones you must take with you when you try to get things done…..I cannot even measure the level of admiration that I have for them.
Paying a visit to the mission field truly can have the theme “mine eye affecteth mine heart”. I have seen “Beth’s world”. I have seen “Ben, Crystal, Evie and Maddox’s” world. I have seen the “Masters, Family” world. I have seen the “Tolson’s Family” world. When they say they have gone here or there I may know where that is, what it may have taken to get there, and what it is looks like there. When they talk about this person or that person, I may have met them and I know what they look like. I can get excited about an expansion of the church facilities with an addition of a bigger nursery area. I’ve seen it and know what a benefit it is to them. It could be a weird statement, but it makes it more real. It is not just a story about a place. There are real people out there that are being reached and taught about the one true God and His Son, our Savior Jesus Christ.
As I “see” it, there are 2 sides to “mine eye affecteth mine heart”; the lost and the missionaries. My eye has affected my heart for the lost as there are so many more that need to hear. My eye has affected my heart by growing in love and admiration for the missionaries who do so much overseas that the lost may hear.
I would urge anyone to, if at all possible, to make a trip to visit a missionary on the field. You will truly return home saying, “mine eye affecteth mine heart”.
Heart condition diagnosed as affected,