“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total; of all those acts will be written the history of this generation.” – Robert Kennedy

The past and the present hinge upon present decisions that are being made all around us. Some of the actions taken today will be our own. Most will be by others, and we will wish that we had made the same decisions as them, for justice, for righteousness, for change.

“Study the past if you would define the future.”

Confucius was right. Linking up the past and the present bring an articulate clarity of events. Small, seemingly infinitesimal acts of grace have power to transform the world. The slightest decisions for evil have enough power to wreak havoc on the planet.

“The past, the present and the future are rarely linear,” says missionary researcher Justin Long. “We can project short-term futures—from the next few days, to a few weeks, to a few years. But outside of that, the complexities of people and their choices, and all the potential wildcards they can dream up, make it difficult to imagine what history will be like.” 

If you don’t know history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree. Some people call it “the line”. At whatever place you enter, at whatever time you arrive, you join the long line of people who have gone before you. We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. Missionaries of the past have pioneered new trails where no path lay before their arrival. I find present clarity and placement as I realize what took place each day of the year throughout missions history.

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See what happened every day of the year on Missions History Today:

Missions History Today: January
Missions History Today: February
Missions History Today: March
Missions History Today: April
Missions History Today: May
Missions History Today: June
Missions History Today: July
Missions History Today: August
Missions History Today: September
Missions History Today: October
Missions History Today: November
Missions History Today: December

To paint a more meaningful picture, See The Huffington Post’s imagery of photos from 1944 merged with the present: D-Day Landing Sites Then And Now: 11 Striking Images That Bring The Past And Present Together



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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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