One of my missionary friends to China recently penned his moving musings in a post on Facebook. It started out with these words:
When I tread the verge of Jordan, bid my anxious fears subside.

Those initial words suddenly struck me, as I am at times prone to anxiety in the missionary venture. Considerations of financial support. Ruminations of God’s direction upon my life. Fears that all I have built at Within Reach Global might fail in the end.Silly thoughts, really, when I look through the lens of God’s commitment to his own work. After all, this ministry has less to do with me at the center than it does me at the fringes, God directing the sails of his continued will for unreached people groups to come to salvation.

God aims to get all the glory in our redemption. Therefore He is adamant that He will work for us and not we for Him. He is the workman; we stand in need of His services. He is the doctor; we are the sick patient. We are the weak; He is the strong. We have the broken-down jalopy; He is the gifted mechanic. – John Piper, Brothers, We Are Not Professionals

My missionary friend in China admitted:
“There are many days when we feel like we want to quit, to give up, to go home to a normal life—especially with two little children. I am drawn to return to the home of my birth instead of living in a country that has never asked me to come and a people whose language and culture is hard.But every time we start thinking about giving up the calling of God for missions, God immediately changes our hearts and we end up back on Chinese soil.”
He went on to quote a hymn written in the mid 1700s by William Williams, Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah. As you embark upon the torrential waters of the missionary venture, I pray these words will also quell the anxiousness you will feel. When financial supporters are few, when the language is hard, when you feel forgotten, alone and desperately in need of direction.
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Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah,
Pilgrim through this barren land.
I am weak, but Thou art mighty;
Hold me with Thy powerful hand.
Bread of heaven, bread of heaven,
Feed me till I want no more;
Feed me till I want no more.

Lord, I trust Thy mighty power,
Wondrous are Thy works of old;
Thou deliver’st Thine from thraldom,
Who for nought themselves had sold:
Thou didst conquer, Thou didst conquer,
Sin, and Satan and the grave,
Sin, and Satan and the grave.

When I tread the verge of Jordan,
Bid my anxious fears subside;
Death of death and hell’s destruction,
Land me safe on Canaan’s side.
Songs of praises, songs of praises,
I will ever give to Thee;
I will ever give to Thee.

Musing on my habitation,
Musing on my heav’nly home,
Fills my soul with holy longings:
Come, my Jesus, quickly come;
Vanity is all I see;
Lord, I long to be with Thee!

Lord, I long to be with Thee!
David Joannes
Founder/President at Within Reach Global
David Joannes is the co-founder and president of Within Reach Global, Inc, which serves the advance of the Gospel in some of Southeast Asia’s most difficult places. He is the author of The Space Between Memories: Recollections from a 21st Century Missionary. David has a love for language, culture, and creative writing, and for the last 20 years, he has witnessed God’s Kingdom established in forgotten parts of the globe. David lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with his wife, Lorna, and their daughter, Cara.
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