Missionary’s Lifelines

by Judi Chow

Have you seen the TV show called “Who wants to be a millionaire”? I enjoyed watching it if it happened to be on when I was flipping the channels. I found myself so involved in the game, I would compete with the person sitting in the hot-seat . I was right, he should have picked “B” instead of “D”! Everybody knows the Statue of Liberty was a gift from France and not Switzerland! If he had used his lifelines … A few years ago, this game show, airing every night in HK, catered to the Chinese population. I couldn’t compete with the contestants since I didn’t know most of the answers. One thing remained the same, the lifelines. When the contestants stumbled and needed help, they could call a friend, ask the audience, and/or choose the 50-50 which eliminated half of the possible answers. Using the lifelines appropriately could help the person advance into another level, one step closer to becoming a millionaire.

I like the idea of having lifelines, an opportunity to ask for help when in need. What about missionaries? Can missionaries have lifelines? When they are in the field and stumble onto a problem or situation beyond their knowledge or ability to handle, whom can they call? Whom can they ask? Where can they seek help? Some people might object to the term “lifelines.” Aren’t our lives in the hands of God? Isn’t God the only help and resource we ever need? Why depend on people’s help? Prayer is the only “lifeline” one ever needs! Yes, these are truths, like pieces to a jig-saw puzzle, but not representing the whole picture. God intended the missionary to work on a team and I am not referring only to other missionaries or local coworkers serving on the same field.

Paul didn’t go on the missionary journey by himself, he was sent along with Barnabas by the church of Antioch, and they took John-Mark with them. If you are part of the sending church or missions agency behind the missionary, consider yourselves part of the team. If you’ve promised to support the missionary financially and/or by prayers, you are also part of that same team. If you are the missionary’s pastor or mentor, yes, you are a very important member of this team. If you are the missionary’s disciples, you are most special because who is going to receive the baton from the missionary? Let me suggest three possible lifelines for missionaries:

1. Enlist yourself to be on the list of “friends” for the missionary to call upon when in need.

2. Plan a trip to visit your missionary, consider it a vacation with a special purpose.

3. Send an email, a note, or card to let the missionary know you’ve prayed for him/her.

As a missionary myself, I know we can go on much farther on this spiritual journey if we have some lifelines to use when in need. Yes, we need to keep a very close vertical connection with our Master, but that horizontal connection with team members is also important. Please remember there is a big difference between team players and the audiences in any sports. If God has called you to be a member of this missionary team, please don’t sit with the audience. Come down to the field and play your part!

Community and Commitment

by Judi Chow

Lately, a word kept popping up both in my conversation with people as well as during my personal reflections. The Lord is calling my attention to this word— community. I know what a community is; we all are part of a community, and some of us live or work in a community. So, what is the Lord trying to tell me about community?

Someone said community is a place of belonging, a place where people find their identities. That’s true, I am part of the CCM family (sense of belonging) and I am CCM’s missionary (identification). Generally speaking, I say a community is a group of people who share a common interest or goal. How committed a person is to that community depends on how much that person feels belonged or identifies with that community. How committed are CCMers? Well, if time is any indication, some of us are on this journey together for some twenty, thirty years. We shared the common interest of serving Christ and our goal is to spread the Gospel among our kinsmen worldwide. For me, it was that calling from God to serve HIM through CCM that kept me tied to this community. It is the memories we share which bond us together spiritually and emotionally.

Larry Crabb refers to the church as a community of people on a journey to God. It is ironic that we presume the church to be a loving community, yet people are not satisfied. Why? Maybe we have a too-high view of the church. We expect perfection in the house of God and forget the people in it are imperfect sinners turned tarnished saints. We want nurturing, but we land up with responsibilities. We want affirmation and acceptance, but we get guilt and gossip instead. We desire the greatest gift of love, but what we hear are clanging cymbals. Shall we lower our expectations so we won’t be disappointed? Reducing the church to be a place for social gatherings? May it never be!

If we are together on this journey to God and if we are clear about our destination, steam ahead. Transformation will take place with one (me) plus another like-minded individual. A community between the two will form with the common desire for spiritual quest and intimacy. As sojourners committed to travel the narrow path, a mutual support and the willingness to carry each other’s burdens will develop. Christ has promised where two or three are gathered in His name, He shall be in their midst. Don’t give up and settle for mediocrity. Instead, pray for the Lord to reveal a kindred spirit committed to walk with you in community.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Red

I just got back from a trip to China and took many photos that can be use for this week’s photo challenge since red is their national color. I choose this one from a beautiful ancient village that changed its name from 王村 to Hibiscus Town after the movie by that name was made there.

Weekly Photo Challenge: One

So sorry to find out this weekly photo challenge so late, o well… it’s better late than never. I do believe a picture is worth a 1000 words if we take the time to look and see the meaning behind each photo. This was taken at a fishing village in Hong Kong during my second wwwp 5k walk.

For a poor Chinese family, one preserved salty fish with rice can feed them for a whole month. This reminded me of the two fish with five loaves miracle, our Lord cares not only for our soul but our physical need as well.