In Goforth of China, Rosalind Goforth recounts a “wonderful farewell service” as they left for the first time to their field of China:
One story was told at that farewell meeting which made a deep impression on all present and touched a note which sounded through the Goforths’ whole after career! The story was of a young couple, when bidding farewell to their home country church as they were about to leave for an African field, known as The White Man’s Grave. The husband said, ‘My wife and I have a strange dread in going. We feel much as if we were going down into a pit. We are willing to take the risk and go if you, our home circle, will promise to hold the ropes.’ One and all promised.
Less than two years passed when the wife and the little one God had given them, succumbed to the dreaded fever. Soon the husband realized his days too were numbered. Not waiting to send word home of his coming, he started back at once and arrived at the hour of the Wednesday prayer-meeting. He slipped in unnoticed, taking a back seat. At the close of the meeting he went forward. An awe came over the people, for death was written on his face. He said:
“I am your missionary. My wife and child are buried in Africa, and I have come home to die. This evening I listened anxiously, as you prayed, for some mention of your missionary to see if you were keeping your promise, but in vain! You prayed for everything connected with yourselves and your home church, but you forgot your missionary. I see now why I am a failure as a missionary. It is because you have failed to hold the ropes!”
Beyond, “Lord, bless the missionaries,” do you pray for those you know to be laboring in the field?
In churches that support many missionaries, perhaps it may be wise to seek the Lord to guide and focus you on a subset of several missionaries and their specific ministries. In today’s world, it is easy to stay informed through email and various communication apps, thus enabling us to pray informed. But the point is—it makes a difference. Prayer matters. To those who have given their lives to go to the foreign field with the glorious Gospel, it matters whether there are intercessors back home who actually join them in the Gospel cause through genuine intercession. James O. Fraser had a circle of seven who bore the burden with him and for him. Every missionary needs some like those seven to embrace them and take the responsibility of “holding the ropes.”
John Van Gelderen
About This Blog
Hello, I’m John Van Gelderen. I am an evangelist and the president of Revival Focus Ministries, an organization for the cause of revival in hearts, homes, churches, and beyond, and for evangelizing. This blog is focused on experiencing Jesus. I believe in order to really live, you must access and experience the very life of Jesus Christ.