Here is a version of a letter from the Shepherd’s Staff director of Church Relationships and Missionary Care to the missionaries we are honored to serve. While we hope all readers will enjoy it and be edified, we also hope it will be forwarded to other missionaries.
As I was reading through the various texts that record what took place that weekend so long ago, I believe the Lord led me to zero in on Matthew 28:1-10, and to begin pondering the similarities between the experiences of those two women and missionaries.
Here are four things I see that they experienced that first Sunday morning after His crucifixion and what I believe missionaries have in common with them.
First–their desire to honor their Lord didn’t die when He did. Instead, it led them to break out of their normal Sunday-after-Passover routine.
Missionaries have done something similar. Their existing relationship with Him moved them to break out of their ordinary life-routine, prepare and offer up themselves and their resources to Him as an act of worship and honor, and to embark on travel that involved a certain amount of risk.
Second–A God-sent messenger commissioned them to do a faith-increasing task and then to go and tell others who needed to know that He was alive.
Like these incredible women, missionaries had God-sent brothers and sisters in their lives that challenged them to do things–like moving to another country for His glory and raising the funds to do it, that helped them to believe and trust in Him more than they already did.
And like them, missionaries were commissioned and sent by some of His messengers to go to those who don’t know He’s alive in order to tell them that He is and that He desires to meet them personally.
Third–They were filled with reverential fear and joy as they obeyed and began the journey and in response, Jesus met them in a way and at a level that they had not previously known.
Missionaries experiences have probably been very close to theirs. When they moved forward in obedience on the journey God called them to, it’s more than likely that they felt the same seemingly incompatible mix of fear and joy that these ladies did.
And just like He did with them, Jesus has met those missionaries on the faith-path they’d been walking in ways and at depths that He never had before
Fourth–He granted their desire to worship and honor Him and then refocused them on the mission He gave them through the previous messenger.
My guess is that all missionaries can also relate to this. They’ve had moments where His presence with them is so real and their worship so meaningful to them that they never wanted to divert their direct attention away from Him again.
Yet in the midst of those intimate moments He reinforced the mission He has given them and directed them to keep moving towards those who need to hear the message that He is alive and desires to meet personally with them.
Finally, the reality is that God gives the most important message ever–Jesus is alive, to faithful and obedient servants and commissions them to deliver it personally.
Those two women obeyed and so have missionaries–they truly do have a resurrection connection!
Jeff Jackson is the founder of Shepherd’s Staff Mission Facilitators and currently serves as the director of Church Relationships and Missionary Care. Jeff previously served with his family as church planters in the central Philippines and has planted churches in the United States.