Anyway, I wanted to put this down before I forget it. The biggest thought or lesson I am bringing home from our Asian experience is that there are MANY people from our country who love God and have answered His Call to go to the corners of the world. They sacrifice holidays with family. They sacrifice their favorite foods. They sacrifice television and radio that they can understand. They live humbly and serve selflessly. In some places, like the place we were in, they even have to maintain a low profile and work in secret. Too often I take for granted what I have here in the States. I can speak the name of Jesus without repercussions. I can gather with my local church and lift up songs. I can pray for and be prayed for openly. I can engage in the work that Christ has called me to without worrying that it might cost me the chance to stay in this country. I can share with people here without fear that they or their family could be imprisoned or killed if they say "yes" to Jesus. And yet, there are days when I feel alone, stifled, like I'm the only one who gets it. That's not true here, but for our friends in foreign lands, they are alone, stifled, and they know they will remain so.
So, here's to my heroes. For all of you on the front lines, who give and give and give, who sacrifice and work to advance the kingdom at risk of peril, loneliness, and discouragement; THANK YOU! You are an inspiration to me, and a constant encouragement to push harder, reach farther, and to never give up. May God bless you with His presence and with the opportunity to see the fruit from the seeds you sow. And know that you are in my thoughts and prayers daily.
And to all of us in open countries who feel like we've got it tough...maybe we do. But it's nothing compared to what our friends overseas deal with daily. So lift your eyes up and get to the task. Let us run with endurance, knowing that we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. Strive for the prize.