Serving…even when safety isn’t guaranteed
By Rev. Dr. Joshua Bogunjoko
When our Lord Jesus commanded, “Go and make disciples,” He made no qualifications for easy circumstances or conditions. When He said, “I have come to seek and to save that which was lost,” He did not limit this to the lost who live in easy-to-reach places. Rather, his audacious mission is carried out every day in the most challenging places on earth – not by angelic hosts, but by feeble sheep, tottering out among wolves.
Persecution, disease, suffering, violence and death have characterized the fulfilling of the Great Commission from its beginning until today. Abduction of missionaries in Niger and Burkina, violent takeover of mission property in Sudan, constant threat to the lives and properties of workers in Pakistan … these are daily realities for many in mission work today, as they are the realities for local churches in which these workers live. However, this is not new to the Church or to mission. Think of Peter, James and John in the Book of Acts, or Stephen, or Paul and Silas. These people carried out their calling in the context of persecution, risk and violence.
Their calling transcends the risks and dangers around them.
On Christmas Day, 25 December 2016, violence broke out around the SIM station in Doro, South Sudan. Adults and children hunkered down under their beds, as bullets flew around them. After a couple of days, they were evacuated. But before long some of them were back again. Though their houses were looted and destroyed, they returned to the same people and in the same service of the same Saviour. Their calling transcends the risks and dangers around them.
These dear ones know that risk, danger and suffering are all part of our call to God’s mission. But in safety or peril, in ease or in discomfort, God promises to be with us.
In this issue of AfriGO we look at serving God in a dangerous world. You will find helpful training material about risk and caring for missionaries exposed to risk. Those who are sent are part of a team, and churches and mission agencies have a responsibility to their very best to look after and safeguard missionaries. Perspective invites us to ask a different kind of question about risk and other articles also shed light on this subject. And in our new regular feature, Called, you will now meet a missionary in every issue.
Rev. Dr. Joshua Bogunjoko, SIM International Director