It's an absolute honor having Madison Gilbert write on Operation 10:14 for me! You can see her passion overflowing in her writing. I hope you enjoy, glory to God! Here it is:
It was the second day of my first mission trip. My excitement was overwhelming and my nervousness over the top as we headed to an oncology ward in a small town in Russia. This was my first chance to proclaim Christ over there and a homely Russian man who was dying of cancer asked me why I was there and what we were doing. My thoughts at that moment included: "This is why God sent me here! This is what we have been practicing! God will use me to save this man!" A fellow missionary and I greeted him, talked to him, and told him all about God and Jesus. He listened so intently! He asked several questions! I was so hopeful! Then, to my honest surprise, he turned away and said he wasn't interested. Trying to hide my disappointment, I (along with the other Christian fellow) thanked him for his time and asked if we could talk more or meet again. He said he just didn't want to talk to us anymore and didn't want to hear any more about Jesus.
Truthfully, I was devastated! I spent so much of that day trying to figure out what we said to turn him off from this news. I was disappointed that the events I pictured occurring (and those I had heard from other mission trips) did not come to fruition at all.
Disappointment is such a funny thing! In one sense it is discouraging and made me want to curl up in a ball and stop sharing about Christ, but in another, it encouraged me to seek God and ask Him to change this man's heart! The book of Joshua in the Bible gives us such a great truth that we must refer to in these circumstances: "Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go" -Joshua 1:9
I still pray for Dmitri. I don't even know if he is still alive, but just in case, I pray. I pray because I know that I once was in his shoes and wanted nothing to do with Christ. I pray because God hears the prayers of his children and it delights His heart to hear my heart! But I also pray because it is the most powerful thing I can do for this man and for God's kingdom--and we can't take that lightly!
"In no other way can the believer become as fully involved with God's work, especially the work of world evangelism, as in intercessory prayer" -Dick Eastman
I tell this incredibly disappointing story not because I want to scare you from ever doing a mission trip or talking to others about Christ's love, but because I want to portray how incredibly difficult talking about Christ can be! It is a serious task Christ gives us, one that sometimes brings rejection and heartache. If we are not daily praying for those (including ourselves) who are spending their time for the sake of Christ, we really should reconsider doing so!
"The history of missions is the history of answered prayer" -Samuel Zwemer
Dmitri needed to hear what we were saying. We told him about the most important life anyone has ever lived on Earth--news that has the potential to change and save lives forever. I know that he at least has (or had) the chance to make a decision about who would take the punishment for his sins and who he would live for. What is it that I really believe if I am unwilling to tell people words that would prevent them from going to Hell and being in the worst of misery for the rest of their lives? We tell others because we have the cure and can heal the sick/dead in spirit! This is a critical task that can be quite unpopular, but such a miracle all the while. We tell because we love others and because God tells us to!
Though this was my first exposure to going into the world to make disciples, I have been blessed by many other opportunities and stories that I still marvel at God for! It is hard work, but knowing that God is glorified in our obedience is a beautiful thing--no matter what the immediate results may be!
God's workings are marvelous and profound, and as I sit here thinking about all the lives changed in the small amount of time I have spent overseas, I see that God is not limited by time, money, or experience, but is glorified in our obedience to go or send others to go. For that, I am grateful!
"I believe that in each generation God has called enough men and women to evangelize all the yet unreached tribes of the earth. It is not God who does not call. It is man who will not respond!" -Isobel Kuhn