Kind of puts a different perspective on things doesn't it?
Now, for a completely different (but actually very similar) portrait of missionary life, please take 15 minutes to watch this great video.
Never the Same from Pioneers-USA on Vimeo.So where's the similarity between the Georges and the Richardsons? The Georges seem dogged by repeated problems, while the Richardsons are seeing incredible fruit from their ministry.
The Sawi were headhunters and cannibals when a young couple named Don and Carol Richardson arrived in their village carrying their seven-month-old boy Steve—and a message that would change the tribe forever. The year was 1962, and Steve—and later, three more children—spent their youth among the Sawi, learning the language and embracing the culture in ways that would shape the rest of their lives. Their story was immortalized in the best-selling book Peace Child and a feature film of the same name, inspiring a new generation to take the gospel to the remaining isolated tribes of the earth.
Fifty years later, Steve joins his father, Don, and two brothers, Shannon and Paul, to visit the Sawi village where they grew up. Journey with Steve as he travels to the swamps of Papua, Indonesia, to introduce you to the Sawi, and explore the impact of the gospel among a previously unreached people group.
First, Don Richardson and Tim George both brought young families from American comforts to live in an underdeveloped society. Don was just 27. How many "20 somethings" do you know who would want to do that, much less who would actually have the skills and character to last in an environment as hostile as what the Georges and Richardsons face(d)? We need to raise the bar of training goals for our youth (before they hit their 20s) if we are going to produce more Don Richardsons. If our goal is to produce youth who can make enough money to live comfortably, we are not going reach the United States with the gospel, much less the unevangelized regions of the world.
Second, remember that 50 years ago, Don Richardson had never read Peace Child. He didn't know he would be famous one day as a "successful" missionary. He took his family clear around the world to the Sawi without knowing whether there would be any fruit whatsoever. Missionaries motivated by anything less than love for Jesus quickly either burn out and go home, or compromise to achieve "results". Jesus gets honor whenever we present the gospel, regardless of the response of the hearer; His honor is the greatest result we could ever want.
Join me in praying that in another 50 years the Georges will be able to visit thriving churches which they helped start. But that either way, they and the thousands of other missionaries around the world will be faithful to honor Jesus regardless of the response they see. That they each may someday hear the words, "Well done, good and faithful slave. Enter into the joy of your Master!"