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September 22, 2010

We have been coming to Africa to serve in the name of Jesus for thirteen years.  In our first term, we were keenly aware of the sense of loss in leaving the comforts of America, the bonds of friendship, and particularly the loving relationships of family.  As we arrived, after having counted and felt the cost and being overwhelmed with love for God, we threw ourselves wholeheartedly into serving the people.  Without much abandon, we leapt into their lives seeking value in their redemption.

Over the course of subsequent years, I denied myself, to ever increasing degrees, the right to consider the sacrifice of our ongoing commitment to God in serving the people of Africa.  I no longer wanted the pain of considering the loss of my American comforts, and especially the disconnect between myself and my family back “home”.  I did not want to consider the “losses” of nephews and nieces growing up without knowing Uncle Marty, Aunt Louise, and the four T’s, as well as those family members who were leaving us for better places in our absence.  Instead, I took the “don’t think about it and it won’t hurt so much approach.”

Just over a week ago I sat with a broken heart and crushed spirit as I sang songs of praise to God for his willing sacrifice for us.  It was time for us again to go, and we were feeling once again, more so than in many years, a sense of the impending loss of going.  The collection came around and I wanted to write on a card the word myself and place it into the tray.  I had realized three things:  1.  If it is not sacrifice, it is not worship.   2.  The greater the personal cost in the sacrifice, the sweeter my love is for God.  3.  The greater the emotional and physical cost, the more important the work is to me and the more willingly I give myself to it.

But, whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.  … Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.  (Phil. 3:7ff)

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Greg permalink
    September 22, 2010 1:01 pm

    Wow, a beautiful post! You guys are awesome, and a great blessing to the body of Christ and to the world! All glory and honor and power to the LORD our God!

  2. Gregoire permalink
    September 22, 2010 3:35 pm

    We love you guys! Sorry we missed you when you were on this side. May God fill you with unexplainable joy and contentment as you seek to empty yourselves in service to Him! Richest, richest blessings! Love from all the Bailey’s!

  3. Marilyn McDermett permalink
    September 22, 2010 7:35 pm

    Thank you for your beautiful message. I’ve printed it off and plan to use it and save it and hopefully live it!!

    I’m grateful to have spent a little time with you while you were here.

    God bless you all and hug the boys for me.

  4. September 23, 2010 6:53 am

    Thank you guys for the encouraging words. Sorry, Greg that we missed you and your family on furlough.

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