In less than two weeks, I will be flying to China, then training down to the China/Vietnam border to officiate the wedding of our local missionaries who were recently interrogated a beaten by the police only six months ago.

It is still very fresh: the sting of the blow of fists, the snap of boots to chest, the verbal barrage of a six hour interrogation.

Our local missionary who was beaten by the police was the last of all our local missionaries to receive persecution. The others on our team have felt the burn of cigarette butts on their skin, the blow of clenched fists of pirate police. They understand the clanking sound of chains around their legs and the terror of handcuffs. All this for the sake of the gospel. All this because of a holy passion to bring the gospel to unreached people groups.

Our local missionary who was beaten by the police was the last of all our local missionaries to receive persecution. The others on our team have felt the burn of cigarette butts on their skin, the blow of clenched fists of pirate police. They understand the clanking sound of chains around their legs and the terror of handcuffs. All this for the sake of the gospel. All this because of a holy passion to bring the gospel to unreached people groups.

I will be traveling to Pilot outreach center, the first of our six outreach centers at Within Reach Global. I will be with all our local and most of our foreign missionaries—totaling over 25 trailblazing missional pioneers—to celebrate this momentous occasion of new life and joy as a new relationship forms between husband and wife.

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But all of this came about after the storm of Christian persecution, from where God-given boldness emerged. And so, as this upcoming trip draws nearer, there is a certain sense of trepidation with me as a leader of a Christian organization, as the vision caster of our team, as a husband and as a father.

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I will be only blocks away from the police station where the persecution bomb was dropped, and I am traveling with my wife and daughter.

This matter for cogitation begs me consider the honest question: am I stupid or am I simply obedient?

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“We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies.” – 2 Corinthians 4:9-11

Oh God, bring peace to my heart on this matter. Give us safety as we travel to a hostile region, where AK-47s, drug distribution and human trafficking are rampant. Go before us and scatter our enemies. In the midst of spiritual and dare I say physical and emotional war, reveal to me the joy of the journey on this particular trip.

Please pray for my family and our missionary team. This is most definitely a time of rejoicing, but there do exist causes for concern. I trust in you, oh God. May your presence be with us at every interval.

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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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