Home World Missions More of a Lifestyle, Less of a Job (Part Two)

More of a Lifestyle, Less of a Job (Part Two)

by Michael Ireland

WILLS POINT, TEXAS (ANS) — Behind-the-scenes missionaries at Gospel For Asia faithfully lift up the needs of their brothers and sisters in Asia in prayer. Jonathan and his family have seen how their faith has increased while being a part of GFA as they join in intercession with the Body of Christ around the world.

Missionaries on the field, like Pastor Marty, pray earnestly for the Lord to work in their ministry and that He would establish the work of their hands. Surrounded by like-minded believers, Jonathan and his family join in on this intercession for the men and women they serve across the globe, according to the ministry.

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Gospel For Asia said that every Tuesday night and once a month on Friday nights, the family gathers, after a quick dinner at home, inside the chapel located on the GFA campus for prayer.

Pastor Marty and his family and Jonathan and his family

“Prayer is a great leveler,” Jonathan says. “It’s a sport in which everyone is equally able to do the work. There are differences in spiritual giftings and heart and all of those things, but there is nothing about the fact that if you are 10 that you cannot be as effective in prayer as someone who is 30 or 40 or 50 or 70.”

As the behind-the-scenes missionaries lift up ministry needs to the Lord, lives are changing, according to the ministry. Sisters of Compassion are given the courage they need to continue in their service to others in Jesus’ name. Missionaries experience opened doors to speak truth and hope into the lives of people whom they encounter. The sick are being healed and poverty is broken as the faithful, fervent prayers of brothers and sisters worldwide are offered to the Lord. The prayers prayed are reaching places many behind-the-scenes missionaries will never physically go. Through this part of GFA’s ministry—and as people, whether in Asia or in the United States, gather for prayer—missionaries are sustained by this constant communication with God.

Jonathan and his family were encouraged to see the Lord answer their prayers for the church building their home fellowship had supported and prayed for every week. After being behind-the-scenes missionaries at GFA for about 6 months, they heard news about this church building and the GFA-supported pastor.

“It was such a privilege to actually get feedback about our specific church and pastor,” Erica says. “To see that one decision from our little body of believers had made an impact that continues today is absolutely incredible. And it was such a boost of faith for all of us to see that God was accomplishing much through all that time of quiet prayer in which we didn’t have specific knowledge, but were simply praying out of our own experiences as a church.”

Serving Together in Joy and Hardship

Gospel For Asia said that as a family, Jonathan and Erica continue to lead their four daughters in the way of Christ and to cultivate a heart for missions. Erica and their daughters serve hands-on at the ministry, after school hours, serving behind the scenes throughout the week in various places around the office. They read missionary and Bridge of Hope profiles and letters, open mail, clean and stock the office breakrooms and clean the campus chapel.

Their willing hearts to help wherever needed are evident on their smiling faces. They are happy to serve the Lord in whatever capacity He allows.

But serving the Lord is not always simple or pleasant, and ministry is no easy journey. Just as Jesus warned His disciples about the trials and troubles that would come their way if they followed Him, Jonathan and his family have experienced this reality as they have labored with GFA. National workers like Marty have experienced trials and troubles, too. Although persecution may look different in Asia, brothers and sisters around the world face opposition together, knowing that serving the Lord does not come without a heavy price at times.

“It had never occurred to me,” Jonathan reflects, “that when you give your life at a ministry, you are not just doing the glorious and admirable thing of becoming a missionary, and everyone is going to applaud you. You are joining yourself to a ministry that will, at some point, be the target of criticism, and when it is, you also will be the target of criticism. … That was both the hardest thing for me to swallow and the source of most growth for me. … I had to learn, it’s more about obeying God and trusting Him to bring fruit out of it than it is the applause of people.”

The Eternal Purpose

With an understanding of their calling and a commitment to the Lord, Jonathan, Erica and their family stand together as one with Pastor Marty and other missionaries around the world, serving others for the sake of Christ.

“It’s more of a lifestyle and less of a job,” Jonathan says.

Even when they feel tired, weak and unworthy or when criticism comes their way, Jonathan and Erica remain faithful to where God has led them.

“We are here because we are about the business of allowing people who have never heard the hope of Christ to hear of Christ,” Jonathan states. “We are also here specifically because this is the place that God connected us to 13 years ago and kept us connected to and specifically led us to. So it’s both the eternal purpose and the specific circumstances working together. But it’s not a matter of preference, or we wouldn’t last.”

Jonathan and Erica are just one family out of many that serve behind the scenes at GFA. With a diversity of single men and women, families and retired couples, these dedicated believers have come together to see people’s lives touched through Christ’s love and sacrifice.

Burdened with the reality that many still wait to hear the simple, profound words “Jesus loves you,” behind-the-scenes missionaries are committed to following Jesus even when there is a high price to pay. They serve to enable missionaries in Asia to be the hands and feet of Christ, and they need financial and prayer support to continue to minister full-time without having to work another job –just like their counterparts on the field.

Gospel For Asia says ‘Behind-the-scenes missionaries’ have raised their own financial support since the very beginning of GFA’s establishment to help counterbalance personnel-related ministry costs. But this is a difficult task, and it takes time away from other work God has entrusted to them. Through the Missions Support Team, you can help provide staff with the funds needed to live simple but contented lives as they minister to others and unto the Lord.

When you link your life with a behind-the-scenes missionary, you get the opportunity to stay more connected with the Lord’s work in Asia. Be a part of changing the world today by aiding the needs of our brothers and sisters here in the United States.

Someday in heaven, we all will worship the Lamb of God together, and we will see fully how Christ has connected our lives with our brothers and sisters around the world!

The author of this story, Michael Ireland, is a self-supported media missionary with ANS. Click here to support him as a missionary journalist. 

 

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