Fools and Missionaries

Fools Missionaries

As preparation for our upcoming short-term mission trip, I read “Fools and Missionaries – A Look at the Grace and Provision of a Loving God” written by our team-leader Martyn Hartley. The title reminds me of 1 Co 4:10, “We are fools for Christ”. It is a collection of his stories over the last 24 years, when our friend gave up his job as an insurance executive to become a career missionary. As the subtitle indicates, the anecdotes tell of how God supplied our friend’s needs, despite difficult circumstances, sometimes in amazing and humorous ways.

Interspersed throughout the book are principles we can learn from. For example:
• On being God-centered – It is not what I want to do for God, but it is what God wants me to do for Him.
• On doing our part – If I want to be used of God I need to do 3 things:
1. make decisive decisions,
2. start to pray effectively, and
3. increase my sphere of Christian influence.

But it is also very practical, with advice short-termers can readily use, even in their next STM trip e.g.
• On culture and customs – In certain areas, visitors are not welcome, emails are regularly intercepted, and the police harass the Chinese because they have money and often don’t understand what is being said. Such is the reality in many mission fields.
• On church – Services are long and many have 3 sermons! Many churches with icons give the impression that what they do is what will get them to heaven. For visiting pastors, be prepared to be invited to preach with little notice, and be ready to share the gospel.

To us, an interesting part is the names of people we knew from our Chinese Diaspora prayer meeting scattered in the stories. Many of these dear folks are lay people, past middle-age, yet have a passion for Christ and missions and have accompanied the author on many mission trips to Russia and Eastern Europe. Our hats off to these short-termers who care so much for their kinsmen that they go, often at their own expense, to evangelize, encourage and teach the Chinese Diaspora.

The book is an easy read of about 140 pages. Read it. You may even get hooked to take a mission trip yourself!

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