As I mentioned in my last post, I have been reading the book Hope Has Wings, the Mission Aviation Fellowhip Story by Stuart King. I am fascinated by missionary stories, mostly because it helps me put things into perspective as I serve the Lord here on the mission field.
Mr. King tells of their pioneer efforts in many African countries--and the hardships they faced building airstrips, dealing with the governments, etc. One country they made a great impact in was in Sudan---the largest country in Africa, geographically. After spending years developing the air strips, constructing medical clinics, missionary housing, etc., civil war forced them to leave the country. Could you imagine investing so much time, energy, and money and then have to leave it all behind? Several years later he returned, only to find their mission station had been decimated--there wasn't even a brick left.
The Sudan government asked them to come back, and so they returned again, spending another seven years rebuilding what had been destroyed--but guess what? Once again civil war broke out, and forced them to leave. Mr. King questioned why, and was it a wasted effort?
One never knows why, and how the hand of God was moving and directing in all of this. It is difficult to put a price tag on missions. Sometimes what we humanly see as a "waste" of money, energy, or resources has a different purpose in God's economy. What price can you put on all the lives and souls of men that were helped physically and spiritually during the time they were allowed to operate within the country?
God operates on an entirely different economy than we do, and the monetary unit is called "faith." I often get discouraged when I look at our bank statement and see all the money we lose changing our dollar into Euros, and the foreign transaction fees we have to pay, not to mention the higher prices we pay for housing and goods here in the Canary Islands. In man's economy, it wouldn't make sense to take such losses.
Is it for naught? Is it really "wasted" money and effort? If you ask all the people who have been helped by the efforts of missionaries worldwide, I think it would become clear that yes, it is worth it, and nothing is ever in vain when it comes to getting out the Gospel to a world that needs to hear the good news.