Preparing for the mission field involves loss on many levels; leaving a church that we love, parting with our two cats, weeding through boxes of memories, letting go of family heirlooms, parting with my tools. We’re certain God wants us in Panama and we’re willing to make the necessary sacrifices … but that doesn’t make it easy. We’re excited as we look forward to serving God in Panama, but sometimes overwhelmed by the journey … all the relinquishing between here and there, all the unknowns.
In that respect, preparing for missions is similar to preparing for death. Every true believer should be excited by the prospect of being out of this world and in the presence of Christ. Death holds no real fear for the one trusting Christ. In fact, in our best moments, the afterlife is downright exciting! It’s the physical process, the letting go, the unknown aspects of dying that we fear.
Even as I come to terms with what must be left behind on the road to Panama, I realize that I have no clue what sacrifices await us once we’ve arrived. Whatever lies ahead, I want to face life and ministry with a heart attitude like the Apostle Paul. Sometimes I lay his words over our journey as a template. Here’s what that looks like …
“And now, compelled by the Spirit, we are going to Panama, not knowing what will happen to us there. We only know what we must lay aside to follow the Spirit’s call. However, we consider our current lives worth nothing to us, if only we may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given us—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.” (Paraphrasing Acts 20:22-24)
Lord thank you that you’ve made yourself and your will known to us. Help those two knowns overshadow all the unknowns.