Hero (he-ro) 1. In mythology and legend, a man, often born of one mortal and one divine parent, who is endowed with great courage and strength, celebrated for his bold exploits, and favored by the gods. 2. Any man noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose especially, one who has risked or sacrificed his life. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language.
I gotta tell you my life has been deeply touched and forever changed. There is an old phrase I’ve heard before, “Heroes of the Faith”. Mostly I’ve seen it in articles and books referring to people who lived long before my time, like Martin Luther, A.W. Tozer and D. L. Moody. Today we might think of people like Billy Graham, Chuck Swindoll or Henry Blackaby. But last week I got to “do life” with some truly incredible people. You wouldn’t recognize most of their names unless they are your relatives or you attended the Okoboji Lakes Bible and Missionary Conference last week. I ate meals with them, watched them interact with their families and friends and listened to their stories. They are real. They make jokes, laugh, chase their kids around and learn.They are honest, sincere, and compelled by the love of God (2 Cor. 5:14). Darlene and Tim, Heather, Troy and Tara, A and T, Carrie, and Steve are 9 real life missionaries. Most of them grew up in the Midwest. They are young. Two of them have young children. They liked eating sweet corn and going boating on the Lake. They all had one thing in common. They can’t wait to get back to the people God has led them to. Cambodia, Haiti, South Africa, Iraq, Myanmar, and a country we shall leave nameless are all countries without many of our American conveniences. They all speak different languages. One of them told of a village where spoke more than 3 different dialects of the same language in one village.
What makes these people leave their jobs, homes, and extended family for very different homes, food, sometimes lack of good medical care? Christ’s love. Their eyes lit up every time they would talk of someone they had met in their area. I won’t forget hearing about Collette or the “policeman”. A normally pretty quite gal exploded with “NO, we can’t let that happen” on stage in front of hundreds of people when their was talk of tightening entrance to some countries after the recent killing of 10 in Afghanistan. She quickly added that God did not call us to a life of safety and convenience. He called us to life. A life of loving Him with all of our heart, soul, and mind AND loving our neighbors as our self. (Mt. 22:37-39) Troy and Tara as well as A and T cried multiple times as they told of the people they ministered to and with. They long to go back and are only here because of they had to leave due to unrest in their countries. They are very anxious to get back even knowing there is danger involved. I don’t think any of these people are “pastors” or have a degree in Bible. They worked in the countries they went to some with families with HIV/Aids, some taking ways to get water to villages, teaching basic health to pregnant moms and moms of new babies just to name a few. They are “regular” people but they are true “heroes” in my eyes.
I have witnessed REAL compassion, compelling compassion. These people are driven from their hearts out to share life and Christ with people whom we (I) think of as so different from us and yet we are really all the same. We are people looking for love. Those of us who know Christ have that love and we’re not supposed to keep it. We know that. So we casually show up at church, put some money in the offering, and maybe teach a Sunday School class or Bible Study. Don’t get me wrong, these are good things to do. But when was the last time or better yet how consistently do you intentionally live your day looking for ways to share the love of Christ in your neighborhood, work place, or school? Are you looking for ways to make the people around you lives better? It’s my opinion that the difference between my new heroes and me is that they are compelled because they are convinced, really convinced, that Christ died for ALL. Christ died for ALL, not just those who will come to church. That includes our family, neighbors, the sick, those with different morals than ours, those that don’t look like us or talk like us. ALL means, well, all, no exceptions.
Thank you Darlene, Tim, Heather, Troy, Tara, A and T, Carrie and Steve. Thank you for allowing us into your hearts and lives, really. For putting “skin on” compassion in a day and age of selfishness. I am challenged to rethink how I live on a daily basis. You are my Heroes! How about you? Are you “compelled”? Share your thoughts. Let’s change our world one person at a time. Who will you see today that needs the love of Christ extended to him?
“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And He died for all, tat those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again.” 2 Corinthians 5:15-16 NIV