by Charl van Wyk
Commands, not Suggestions
We are commanded in Scripture to be the “salt and light” (Matt 5:13-16). We are told that “faith without works is dead” (James 2:14-26).
We are called to “preach the Gospel” (Mark 16:15) and “disciple the nations” (Matt 28:16-20).
We are not to “close our hearts to a brother in need.” (John 3:17-18)
And the prickly command—that makes us quite uncomfortable— is that we be “exposing the fruitless deeds of darkness” (Eph. 5:11). This might attract negative attention to ourselves, possibly invite slander and likely bring inconvenience—or even persecution—to our comfortable lives.
The bottom-line is that these are commands, not suggestions.
Putting them into action
Missionary work is not a life of ease. There aren’t too many Marriott Hotels (or hotels of any kind) in the jungle. The food can be ghastly and brutal on our Western stomachs.
There is also an acutely bitter history—a legacy of long-fostered resentments handed down among the generations—that we often encounter as visitors in this environment.
A common one: “Missionaries arrived in Africa with Bibles for us; but when we looked again, we had the Bibles and they had stolen our land!!”
It is impossible to present you with the full magnitude of lies, deceit and culturally deviant and grossly sinful behaviour missionaries’ face in Africa.
I’ve mentioned this before. The lack of empathy, terrible cruelty, compulsive jealousy, deep hatred, inability to organize anything but destruction, pathetic—sometimes non-existent—work ethic, rampant dishonesty, exploitative opportunism, complete unreliability and a superstitious religion that often surpasses the insane, is all quite unbearable for many.
Friends have asked me how they can encourage new missionaries who want to leave the mission field after just two months. They are aghast at the chaos, theft and hatred they must endure and that occurs between fellow Africans to each other.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ changes all this! The Gospel, when applied to every area of life, makes for empathy, consideration, love, restoration, great work ethics, honesty, reliability and sobriety; not only for one person, it effects, families, businesses, churches and civil government.
So to those who have been pouring out heart, guts, love and funds into this sorry mess called missions – we cannot thank you enough for operating from the very Spirit we are sharing with those in darkness—the Holy Spirit found only through redemption in Christ Jesus!
The projects we are involved with bring the Gospel to the people of Africa and create amazing discipleship opportunities.
Charl van Wyk is a full-time missionary and the best-selling author of ‘Shooting Back – The Right and Duty of Self-Defense’. Currently, Charl is working to grow a Christian university, school and church in Central Africa, supporting African pastors with Bibles and bikes, and is a patron of the Organization for Peace and Conflict Resolution in Congo. He speaks internationally and has had numerous newspaper, magazine, radio and television interviews.