The lonely truth
We were in a living room somewhere in Italy.
For hours, a couple serving in that nation poured out their hearts to us. Weary, tired, confused, and looking for direction, they cried. The only question I had asked: “How is your heart?”
In response, they shared that, in all the years they had been serving there, no one had ever asked them that.
This was not some lonely preacher who had sent himself to Europe. This was a solid couple, part of a big serious organization with worldwide influence.
This was a solid couple, part of a big serious organization with worldwide influence. So I was puzzled at why they felt so alone and unseen. Then they shared that they do receive yearly visits, as well as calls from leaders and pastors who want to bring groups to visit or get their church involved with their work, but they never make a personal connection. It is not a friendship, but a results-oriented business relationship.
I traveled back home shocked and with a heavy heart.
Is this something exclusive to them? Are there more people serving on the ground in the nations who are experiencing this same thing?
Years have passed since the evening in that living room in Italy, and since then I've had the honor to visit countless tables and sofas and experience some version of that same story. Every time, our stated purpose for being there was to record a video and create a piece of media, but I also knew that God was working beyond that purpose to show us a reality that the rest of the church back home also needed to see.
The shocking truth that was revealed to us it that ministry work gets really lonely, especially if you are serving on the other side of the world.
The shocking truth that was revealed to us it that ministry work gets really lonely, especially if you are serving on the other side of the world, far away from what you used to call home, in a place where your faith singles you out and your culture is a barrier to fitting in and reaching others.
And most believers simply have no idea about this hard reality.
So here is an idea: pick a country, any country. Maybe a country that is special to your heart, maybe your own. Maybe a faraway place that you only know by pictures. It doesn’t matter which one, but choose one, and then start today praying for the people serving there. Pray for the men and women (and their children) who may be the first ones to share the Good News in that location, and ask God to bring a network of friends and mentors to them, who can support each other. A tribe. And if you dare, pray even to become a friend to those missionaries, a trusted voice and shoulder that is willing to connect with them and do life alongside them.
My own personal prayer is that your prayers will be heard and with your own eyes, you'll get to see your prayers answered.