This is a letter from Eric Kaisoa of Papua New Guinea (PNG), sent to New Tribes Mission (NTM):
“I’m writing again for the 7th time to ask if you will come to my village or not…The people are saying that you must come. I’m saying this again. I think you all didn’t get my first 6 letters…The people are truly crying for a missionary and for God’s talk. Plenty of my letters asking for missionaries have been wasted.
“Now I’m asking you to return a letter to me now. In the name of Jesus please return a letter quickly. I just want a missionary. I’m just wasting my money on these pens and paper, they don’t bear fruit. This one must produce the fruit right.”
Here’s another one from a man named Aiben Awanhi of Isahu Village in PNG, received by NTM a few years ago as well:
“Yes, I am writing because I have some thing with you ones. I have a big worry that I am not sure what will happen when death comes. I have heard from the other tribe that has the mission that they know now, I am sorry for myself that I do not know. I worry for my life, so I am asking that you will send the mission to my village.
“The men and women of Isahu village we are very hungry for this talk that it will be in our bellies. Please have pity on us. In all other places of the ground we have heard that they have the talk of God but us ones of Isahu are still standing without, we have nothing. I have heard of others hearing this talk in other villages but this talk is not in Isahu yet. So please send some to learn our language and teach us this talk so we can know it too.
“Please have pity on our lives, we don’t know what will become of us when death is on us. So I am asking with a big strong request that you will come to us and teach us of this talk. This is the road that I have heard will be heard, that is why I have sent this letter to you bossmen of NTM. Our language is not hard here in Isahu, please come.”
And a follow-up letter:
“I want to notify you that now I have an illness. I am the man writing this letter to you. I have come down with a big illness and this illness of mine is saying such now that I do not know where death will take me. I am really concerned for myself. If I get the head talk and the beginning talk (the Gospel teaching) then it will be alright with me. I often see people go to church because the talk of God came to them. But I do not have, it has been this way since before. How God exists, I do not know… All of us men and woman of Isahu desire missionaries to come to our place of Isahu.”
There are many, many more of these. Please know that my heart isn’t to guilt or shame you: those dog abuse and abandonment commercials do enough of that. The world must use guilt and shame as a tool to motivate to action, because, well, unsaved people don’t do saved-people things with saved-people motives. As a believer, and your brother in Christ, I would rather appeal to Christ’s heart as revealed in God’s Word.
You know that we, the church, are commanded to “Go, therefore, into all the world and make disciples…” (Matthew 28:19). Your calling is crystal clear.
You know “the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few (Luke 10:2).” There are still, roughly, 2,300 unreached people groups in the world without any access to the Gospel, without a shred of Scripture in their language, without any work being done to plant a church.
You know that “In Christ, you are a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17)” and “His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory (2 Pet. 1:3)…” Missionaries aren’t super special spiritual giants. Good news! You and I aren’t either. We are in union with and draw from the resources of One who is, in fact, super-special and super-spiritual though.
You know that Christ will never leave you nor forsake you (Heb. 13:5-6). The loneliness you’re likely to feel, the homesickness waiting around the corner for new missionaries, is remedied by an intimate relationship with The Good Shepherd, your Brother, your King, compassionate High Priest, Redeemer, and Friend. Losing it all for the sake of Christ means more Christ. Worth it.
You know that whatever you lose in this life for the cause of Christ will pale in comparison to the glory to come (Matt. 19:29; Ro. 8:18). Christian family members that you won’t be able to hug for years at a time will be way more huggable in their sinless, Heavenly state. Every loss, every disappointment will melt away as you receive Christ’s “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Not only this (Christ’s approval would be more than enough) — humbly allowing Christ to be lived through you in this temporary life guarantees blessed reward in eternity (Rev 2:26-29; 3:11-13, 21).
Should you go? Must you go? Here are three steps to help you make this decision faithfully. Remember, “whatever isn’t done in faith is sin (Ro. 14:23).” Saying “no” to missions without consulting the Lord first is unacceptable for the Christian. Saying “yes” to impress others isn’t godly either.
How do we consult the Lord? Not through personal “feeling” — we walk by faith and not by sight. We don’t walk our way through the Christian life relying on our emotions. Some may feel like they’re called, but have no business becoming cross-cultural missionaries, while those who have no current feelings for leaving their home countries should allow God’s Word to change their thinking.
Pray through Scripture about it. Don’t look for signs, but a Spirit-given conviction from the Word. Does God in fact care about reaching the unreached? Does He use his people to do it? If you’re married, do this with your spouse as well.
Get informed. “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God (Luke 9:62).” Please research mission organizations and their training programs first. There are lots of them!
Finally, consult your elders. Are you and your family spiritually ready and mature enough to take on this enormous task? Men, are you qualified for eldership, and will you be able to maintain those qualifications under the pressures of cross-cultural ministry? Ask your elders for wisdom regarding mission organizations, your family situation, and possibly countries you will pursue.
Please: earnestly and genuinely consider long-term, cross-cultural missions this year.