Missions Catalyst 2.13.13 – Practical Mobilization

In This Issue: When God says, “go” and your spouse says, “whoa!”

Eye chart

Missions Catalyst is a free, weekly electronic digest of mission news and resources designed to inspire and equip Christians worldwide for global ministry. Use it to fuel your prayers, find tips and opportunities, and stay in touch with how God is building his kingdom all over the world. Please forward it freely!

Vision Variance: When God Says, “Go” but Your Spouse Says, “Whoa!”

By Shane Bennett

A couple years ago, in response to my growing inability to see both far away and up close, our eye doctor suggested I try a far-away contact in one eye and a reading-distance contact in the other eye. I know it sounds crazy, but apparently they do this all the time. I gave it a go. It felt like my head was continually, slowly revolving on its axis. I bailed out of the experiment before giving my brain proper time to sort things out – returning to glasses and holding books close enough to my face that I look silly.

Ever tried an experiment like that? Some such leaps require a bigger investment and cannot be aborted so easily. Marriage, for instance. Most of us who are married entered the blessed estate with pretty audacious promises, including, “I’ll stick this out, come heck or high water.” And we really mean it. No one, upon realizing one spouse is a morning person and the other a night person, collapses on the couch crying out, “I just can’t take it anymore!”

What if the differences run deeper? Some people find differences in terms of vision for the world and enthusiasm about God’s global purpose. In a nutshell: you hear God say, “Go,” but your spouse says, “Whoa!”

What then? Good question. Can I say first off to our single readers: Watch out! Think carefully about this issue and remain patient. And yes, that’s very easy for me to say. I’m not sleeping alone night after night. I hear you and pray for grace and patience. (If you’re a single guy into missions, asking God for a wife, and you’re not a total dope, drop me a line. I have several friends who’d like to meet you. I’m serious.)

But if you’ve already signed on the dotted line, let me tell you about my good friend Naomi. She’s an all-star by most any scale (although she’s sub-par at video games!) Naomi was married to Jax for 19 years. Together they rocked the world of mission mobilization, wrote great books and tons of articles, spoke at hundreds of Perspectives classes and missions events, and injected both excitement and solid wisdom into countless lives. They tried for years to have a child. Finally God gave them two to adopt. Within two years of signing the final papers Jax was diagnosed with brain cancer and promptly died. (Honestly, I can hardly write that without crying. And cussing.)

So it’s no longer the “Jax and Naomi Show.” It’s Naomi, leaning hard into her community, trying to figure out how to feed the munchkins.

While she’s doing that, a distant friend of hers, a good man, Ryan, loses his wife and the mother of his four kids to brain cancer.

If you’ve ever read a book or watched a movie, you know what happened, right? (Cue the soaring music.) God brought them together. They found each other, fell in love, carefully counted the cost, and got married. So now Naomi again enjoys the companionship and security of a marriage. Together they wrangle the hassles of blending two sets of kids into one sort-of set. They look toward the future with hope and gratefulness.

But wait: Ryan’s not into missions in the same way Naomi is. He’s a great guy. He loves Jesus; he is a growing disciple and positively impacts the world around him. But world mission is not his gig. (I’m not assigning value here, as if “missions people” were God’s special pals. I’m just pointing out a vision variance.)

Where does this leave Naomi? She loves Ryan and was obedient to God, not just her heart, in marrying him. On the one hand, she’s deliriously happy with this pleasant turn her life has taken. On the other hand, there’s a significant bit of identity conflict. “I love God, love Ryan, love missions. Where does this leave me?”

Naomi’s situation is not one that used to be confusing but now has worked out nicely and neatly. She’s still in the thick of it. This much is clear: Ryan and this new family are a gift to Naomi from God. What’s not so clear, though, is if she can still be “missions Naomi” in this new situation. How does she honor God, Ryan, her family, and the tug of the nations that won’t go away?

Because Naomi’s story fairly drips with happy redemption, you just know they’ll find a way forward. I can’t tell the future, but if I could, I’d forecast that Ryan and Naomi will lead a team of young people on a short term to a cool place and Ryan will understand in fresh ways Naomi’s heart for the nations. Naomi will find ways to express that heart for the nations locally and alongside the rigors of raising a tribe of disciples. At the same time she’ll grow in her appreciation of Ryan’s value and contribution to his kids, co-workers, and the broader community. And as they intentionally pursue God and each other, each distinct vision will increasingly complement the other and move them toward one vision.

Maybe your story is not so Hallmark-y. You chose your spouse, knowing the vision variance, hoping it would change, and now you face the reality that it’s not going to. Maybe you’ve both done missions for a long time, but the edgy thrill of living on the brink of poverty has faded for your wife. Maybe you came to a global vision late in the game. Perhaps a Perspectives, Pathways, or Kairos course blew open whole new vistas in your mind, but the bright fresh vision isn’t happening for dude you sleep with.

Is There Hope?

This is the part of the article where I’m sorely tempted to toss out a few gauzy platitudes and give myself a nice Dr. Phil pat on the back. But this isn’t that kind of problem. Let me instead remind us of a couple things, suggest a baby step or two, and ask for your thoughts about vision variance.

Remember:

  1. You are not alone. All kinds of marriages are dealing with all kinds of problems. No situation is perfect. Sacrifice is required of us all.
  2. Your spouse is not your enemy.
  3. Your God has things well in hand. Yes, he highly values our obedience. No, he’s not wringing his hands, worrying about your slacker spouse.

Repent:

  1. Has work for God become your god?
  2. Have you prioritized ministry over your mate? Do you really have biblical backing for that?
  3. Have you improperly judged your spouse, deeming them less spiritual than you? Do you nag them like a Pharisee?

Realize:

  1. God probably values you and your marriage more than the hours you might log among unreached peoples.
  2. God delights to use people along the lines he designed them. Your spouse is equipped for kingdom contribution beyond what you’ve imagined.
  3. God has some sweet wonderful ways for you to exercise your gifts, even if that doesn’t look like what you always dreamed. As you faithfully pursue God and your spouse, God may use you among the nations in ways you never saw coming that far exceed the impact you’d hoped for.

Please take a moment and weigh in on this issue (anonymously if you wish). I would appreciate your insight.

Think this might help someone you know who’s in a “vision variance” situation? Hit the forward button and send it on to them. Thank you.

» Editor’s note: If you’d like to speak with Naomi or have her speak to your group, send us a note with “talk to Naomi” in the subject line, and we’ll make sure she gets it.

 

Shane Bennett writes and speaks for a great organization called Frontiers. Lately he’s wondering about how Muslim immigrants in Europe might fully experience God’s blessing.

He’s also working with some buds to leverage a $49 a month smart phone plan to raise a ton of money for cross-cultural workers. Email him for info on the plan or the vision.

 

 

 

43 thoughts on “Missions Catalyst 2.13.13 – Practical Mobilization

  1. While my husband is not “into” missions, he is a good guy and encourages me in my persuit of reaching the nations. I don’t know where this will go or how God will shape us both, but I am looking forward to how God will use us both to reach the world for Him. God has surprised me in the past and I expect He will surprise me again in the future! :-)

  2. This was my situation 28 years ago. I felt a call to missions, my husband said he was truly listening and did not feel a call to go. I let it go and trusted God and bloomed where I was planted. In the short-term, we moved to New England with a new church start. In the middle of our time there, I went to seminary, graduated and moved to North Carolina as a missions pastor. Served for almost 10 years and am now missions coordinator for a state organization and lead another new church start. I have led many teams on short-term mission trips, teach missions, have many missionary friends that I encourage and support. Overall I am in the center of God’s call on my life with missions. God always makes a way for a person to fulfill their call!

  3. This is great information for the married person wondering how God will work through varying views. I wonder if there is equally encouraging information for the single person who is called to world missions, and also waiting for a spouse. I guess what I’m really wondering, since I don’t have the issue of being married to someone who sees things differently than I do, is whether it is wise to only consider someone for marriage who already shares the same vision, in order to avoid the issue altogether. I assume there’s no direct and simple answer. As you wrote in the story of Naomi above, God brought her a husband who didn’t share her vision. So as much as I think it’s unwise to just marry someone who doesn’t hear God’s same call to world missions and then hope/pray that it will change, I see that it might not be so clean-cut as that. How does one know if God is going to unite him/her with someone who will already share the vision, or if they will receive that vision later? Is it wiser, in general, to let that be an option, or hold out?

  4. Great article, Shane! I am sure that many people will relate to this in one form or the other, at different stages of life and ministry. We do!

    And yet, I think as we submit to God’s will, as you encouraged, he opens doors to “bloom where you are planted.” I was watching the “Diaspora Track” of the Third Lausanne Congress from Capetown 2010 yesterday, and couldn’t shake off how God has changed the picture and brought missions to our backyard, and we can be real missionaries … maybe with even greater impact, by ministering to our diaspora neighbors in the USA.

    Blessings, Shane!

  5. Wow! I really enjoyed reading that and it gave good perspective to my situation. My husband is supportive of what I feel God is calling me to in missions but I’m anxious to see how God works in us both in the next few years…hopefully to share a common vision whether at home or abroad.

    I catch a bit of flack from the submissive-wife contingent at my church for pursuing missions without the leading of my of my husband. Does the Bible command that the husband must take the lead in this? Or simple that I must be submissive to his will if he were to ask me not to go?

  6. I haven’t mentioned this in Missions Catalyst, but I’ve been doing some work on the side for the ministry behind http://www.askamissionary.com. That site has some Q&A threads on topics like this one that might be helpful for readers. See the following:

    Should I, as a single person, go overseas now, or should I first find a mate?

    Should I consider a relationship with a future missionary who wants to serve in a different country from the one I’m interested in?

    My spouse wants to be a missionary and I do not. How have other married couples with differing desires made their decision?

    blessings,
    Marti

  7. Good post.

    As a side note, there is another level of complexity to this as well – when both feel called to missions but differ in the place they feel called to, or the ministry type, or the level of commitment.

    To me, the key is in 1 Corinthians 13. Sounds simplistic, I know, but “Love is patient, kind…”

    When we are patient and kind, not easily provoked, we give each other room to explore our identities and callings in Christ. Less-actives and more-actives in mission need to do this for each other, without giving a guilt trip.

    I don’t agree with the whole submissive-wife trope, because (1) it leaves out the more important submission-to-God aspect, and (2) in my experience it completely leaves out the idea of mutual submission. Most people who pull that out don’t go into a husband sacrificing for his wife – sometimes sacrificing his dreams and visions. Sometimes God gives us a vision or a calling, and then like Abraham asks us to put it on the altar and kill it. We have to believe He is the God of the resurrection, the God of eternity, and that He can bring it all together in the end.

  8. Anonymous of 9.02am: Thanks for the comment. I appreciate your hopeful confidence in God’s ability to use all of us in pretty much all situations. Thank you.

  9. Linda: Thank you for your comment. What a great story of God’s ability to use us as we confidently submit to his purposes. Awesome.

  10. I learned something the hard way and want to encourage those who may be in the same position. When my husband and I were planning on getting married about 10 years ago I was SURE God was calling us into full time missions. My man seemed to be on the same page and it was all rainbows and lollipops. But after we were married things, worked out to where I felt that God was saying “no” (through my man) to my desires. I was crushed. We went through a really tough patch where I questioned if he was even following after God (talk about overreaction on my part!)

    My biggest mistake is that I just totally shut down and closed off the part of my heart that still ached after that dream. Now, 10 years later, my husband is actively pursuing full-time missions. When he first brought it up to me a year ago, I’m shamed to say that my first response was not, “Yay! God answers prayers!”, but was more like, “But we have a nice house now, and good friends, and I like our comfortable, American life.”

    Now I wish I would have been more graceful in my response to God’s “no.” I wish I would have continued to seek after God’s face and trusted in His plans. Instead, I acted like a spoiled child who, when expecting an extravagant Christmas gift, throwing down the boring socks in disgust. Our story is still in process, so I don’t have a happy, clean ending here. But I want to encourage those who may be in the same boat to not do like I did and jump ship at the first sign of a storm.

  11. Anon at 9.23: Thanks for reading and commenting. I totally agree with your thought, “I assume there’s no direct and simple answer.” You are right. Even so, my non-professional, likely carnal, proof-text free response is usually: Do your best to be patient. Ask God for, and expect him to give you, someone with like vision. This is not easy and I won’t be glib or trite about it.

    May God give sufficient, even abundant, grace to people who are waiting for a spouse who’s vision matches (exceeds?!) theirs.

  12. Ted: Thanks for the insightful comment. You’re right. We are blessed to live when and where we do. God has dropped opportunities into our laps which would have been unthinkable for many of us even a couple generations ago. May we indeed bloom where we’re planted (or transplanted!).

  13. Betsy,
    Thanks for the honest comment. I appreciate it. Justin offers some wisdom and thought in his comment a couple below yours.

  14. Justin: Thanks for the comment. As usual, wise and considered input. Thank you for offering it and for encouraging us to think well and honestly about the issues that confront us. And indeed, God is well able to work out his purposes.

  15. Anon at 11.28: Thanks so much for sharing your “in process” story. I appreciate your honesty and the way you lift us God’s ability to redeem the most challenging situations. May he work through you two in increasingly wonderful ways.

  16. My wife and I were on the field and ended up coming back because my heart was not in the right place. Ministry and being successful as a missionary overran my family. Praise God for changing my heart and bringing me to repentance!

    Since the healing, my heart to be overseas has remained but my wife has not had the same burden or desire. She still has a heart for the nations but doesn’t sense that it is time to go. God brought me to realize that in our being “one,” if 50% of the “one” is not at the place to go, then the “one” is not supposed to go. If God says to go someday then we will strive to walk in obedience as “one.” I have had to trust God that he has ways for me to impact the world where I am, and more than likely better than I can muster up.

  17. I think it is kind of interesting that many of the examples of people wanting to go into missions, and spouses that don’t, are wives that want to go and husbands that don’t. I think it is also the case that the opposite is often true about couples who leave the mission field. Wives want to leave because of burnout, children’s schooling, aging parents or other reasons, while the husband is reaching new heights in ministry in the field and desperately wants to continue in the mission field rather than come home. This was my situation after 19 years in the field. I know several other men that went through the same thing.

    But the Lord taught me a few valuable lessons. First of all, my wife sacrificed for me and the Lord those 19 years in the field and the three years of preparations. Secondly, the Lord does not really call her to sacrifice for me but rather he has called me to sacrifice for her which the Lord reminded me as I studied Eph. 5:25-33. It is a familiar passage but I realized that I am to give myself up for her. To give up my dreams, my pleasures, my “fulfulling life,” if that is what it takes to help her be what God intended her to be. Jesus gave up all His glory, power and honor in order to walk this earth and die for me and He calls me to do the same for my wife.

    Three years later now I can see that God had an important role for her to play in the raising of our grandchildren in the USA and that He had an important role for me in raising up and mentoring new missionaries. So I just want to reiterate that it is not worth ruining your marriage for the sake of going to the mission field or staying there too long. A godly marriage glorifies the Lord. Ruining your marriage for the sake of missions does the opposite, and dishonors the Lord.

  18. This article really impacted me and made me think. I’m not married, but I see how my thinking has been influenced in this direction, in the way of seeing my life as significant when I’m “in the nations”, and somehow less significant if I’m back in my home nation, which is what has happened this year. All my plans were changed, and God brought me back to my home nation.

    ANOTHER THING I wanted to say is directed towards Chuck Burwell who commented just above me.

    WOW. Your words as a man and husband as to your calling to sacrifice as a husband to “give yourself up for her” as the call of Christ to the Church, wow. Your words have hit something really tender in my heart. Thank you for sharing that and living that.

    Alison

  19. Alison, just a note (for others who will also read this thread)… I think one of the chief dangers we as mobilizers have to avoid is to “push” the unreached and the nations as somehow the chief thing that anyone can do – that every thing else is a lesser priority. I have to fight against that, myself.

    You’ve brought something to light which is very key: the most important thing, the chief thing, is to worship God and obey Him. If he is calling someone to the nations, they should go. But if God is calling you to do something else, then going to the nations could very well be disobedience.

    I think we often miss this idea in the “you should go unless you are specifically called to stay home” motif. Not everyone is called to the nations – if they were, we wouldn’t have Billy Grahams, or pastors, or disciplemakers, or people to greet the nations who come here.

    Significance is not in where Christ calls you to go, but in following Christ wherever! May we mobilizers never communicate a different message.

  20. Justin, thanks for the comment on the comment!

    Yes, I’m realizing it’s all about obedience and worshiping and glorifying Him in that, not about the specifics and wheres and whats. It’s all significant if God has led us to it.

    I guess I’m walking through some “calling confusion” so certain God was leading in a certain direction, and then God redirecting me elsewhere, and opening up new doors, which are AWESOME doors, but I can’t seem to accept them yet, because they are not what I had thought I was called to, or HOW I felt the calling would be fulfilled.

    So….. it’s interesting….

    But certainly not boring, that’s for sure!

    I do know that us missionaries and mobilizers do tend to make international/global “calls” appear to be more significant, and we don’t help it when we come “home” and feel like everyone has settled and are compromising.

    Or maybe that’s just me haha.

    Alison

  21. Readers might be interested in the work of Rob and Amy Rienow. They have authored Visionary Marriage (“Inspiring couples to capture a compelling, Bible-driven mission for their life together.”) and Visionary Parenting. Check out their website and video at http://visionaryfam.com/

  22. Thanks for covering this important issue. I’ve been really helped by reading the book Tinker, Tailor, Missionary and by meeting missionaries in the field and hearing their stories, and by knowing people that want to be on mission but can’t because of their career/spouse situation.

    I had the dream strong and clear but I went through a valley and was rather broken, down, and wounded. I’ve been healed and strengthened very much and now operate in a post-brokenness mode. However, sort of like the pottery that Isaiah pointed out was broken in the hands of the potter and refashioned into something else, I’ve been refashioned into learning and doing investing, real estate, and politics in my own culture.
    When considering spouse selection it does make sense to find a suitable helper, and to have a helper you have to know yourself and your mission. But my mission changed… my screening criteria for a wife isn’t as rigid as it was, but I think that even with my missions vision in a weakened state it is still something to disclose to candidate helpmates. An on-fire helper may not be a good match, but since my pilot-light is still on I think it best to dislose that to dates and to give them an early “warning” that God could activate you for service again.

    I think that considering complimentary temperaments can be helpful in reducing risk of a mismatch. Kiersey has a good book Please Understand Me does a great job of explaining how any two temperaments mesh together.

  23. Listen to John Piper (link below).
    Men make the decisions. Spouses should be supporting their husbands although many choose to do their own thing. Men should be ready to go with or without the spouse using an in-country nanny if they are truly called to go. Women should patiently pray and support their husband. If he is not called she does not go…

    How can people see the difference between how Christians suffer (with Hope) versus everyone they have ever known – if spouses are not willing to suffer, and possibly die for the sake of the gospel?

    http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/biographies/how-few-there-are-who-die-so-hard

  24. AKEagle,

    I am saddened to see how you even worded your comment. Nowhere in your comment do I sense you speaking of a wife as one that is cherished and nourished by her husband (Eph 5:24-29) in whom he will joyfully give himself to and for.

    A woman, when nourished and cherished by her husband, will gladly go anywhere and give her life to something and willingly die for it.

    I could understand why many a wife would count it a cross of suffering to have to follow their husband somewhere if they are being told by their husband that they have no say in the decisions, and that their husband will go without them if they do not agree.

  25. I received my call to missions about 14 years ago. Shortly after that my husband and I started dating and married a year and a half later. His walk with God was one of the qualities that attracted me to him. However, he did not share my call to missions. I got involved with missions at my church and in the community, but continued to wait for my husband to come along. Godly counsel was given that God would not call only half of a marriage. Several years later I led my first short-term missions trip, and my husband went along, later admitting that he only went because I went. Two years later we did another trip, and he was going for God this time. Fast forward another couple years (to last November) and he went to Africa for two weeks by himself! He has finally caught hold of God’s passion for missions. It has been a long lesson in patience for me we have been married now for 11 years. But patience and perseverance has paid off. Instead of just waiting for him to come along, I still chose to be involved in missions at a local level, and in the process have created a culture among our children of serving God as a family.

  26. Joel: Thanks for the honest, helpful comment. Praise God for the gift of repentance and the grace he’s given you two on this journey. May Romans 15.5-6 be worked out in and through you guys: “5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, 6 so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

  27. Chuck: Thanks for the wonderful, redemptive story. Thanks also for the reminder from Eph. 5:25-33. I suppose I’m not the only one who can often use that reminder.

  28. Alison: Thanks for reading MissionsCatalyst and taking time to write. I appreciate you engaging in this conversation and sharing with us ways that God is shaping you and developing your thinking. Keep up the good work!

  29. Justin: Thanks for the reminder that the main thing is to follow Jesus. Among whom you do that following is important, but secondary.

  30. Pam: Thanks for pointing out the work of Rob and Amy Rienow. visionaryfam.com/
    That’s a helpful addition.

  31. Luke: Thanks for the book recommendations and the example of honesty in letting people know early on that there’s a spark for the nations in you that could flame to life!

    And thanks for a new and helpful phrase for me: “operating in ‘post-brokenness’ mode.” I like that.

  32. AKEagle: Thanks for weighing in. Those are challenging words from Dr. Piper and a challenging example from Adoniram Judson. Honestly, I’m not sure I could biblically defend your statement, “Men should be ready to go with or without the spouse using an in-country nanny if they are truly called to go.” I hope you’ll be willing to engage some of the push-back your comment will likely engender. Lively, but civil, conversation on this topic would be helpful. Thank you.

  33. Melissa: Great story. Thanks for sharing it. May God give you and your family great harvest for his kingdom, here, there and everywhere in between.

  34. Oh, how I wish there was an easy answer for this difficult impasse. It’s a journey I’ve been on for nearly 12 years now, and the Lord has taught me so much through the countless hours of heart-wrenching prayers. I’m still praying for the day when my vision, my husband’s, and our other family/financial circumstances will be in alignment for us to engage in full-time overseas ministry, but whether that day comes or not, I know that God has a work for me to do right here, right now, and that my submission to God’s leading through my husband is pleasing in His sight. If I waste all my God-given days waiting, instead of working for the Kingdom, I’ll be squandering the opportunities I HAVE been given while pining for those I have not.

  35. AKEagle, Shane:

    I believe the man is the spiritual head of the family. But that spiritual headship should not be rendered as a dictatorship that says “I say, you do.” Spiritual leadership must embody a sacrificial element. Beyond that, we have to remember that in a marriage “The two should be one” – when the two are not in agreement, I think that’s a powerful red flag that says stop and consider what you’re doing. I speak from some experience in that regard.

    That said, I must say–and I say this in the most civil way I can, but in the strongest tones–I completely disagree with the idea that the man should abandon his spouse (for abandonment it truly would be) and go on a missionary calling with a nanny–I disagree in the strongest sense possible. There are a host of temptations that would be engendered with such an approach, and NO mission agency would take someone who did that – at least, no agency with their head in the right place.

    I respect Piper as a man of God, but he can be wrong, and I believe this is one such case.

    Another element is that you have to consider the witness you are presenting on the field. If the two of you are not in one accord on something, and you (somehow!) get to the field, what kind of witness is that going to present?

  36. Liz: Wow, thanks for the honest, vulnerable comment. I love this idea: “If I waste all my God-given days waiting, instead of working for the Kingdom, I’ll be squandering the opportunities I HAVE been given while pining for those I have not.” Thanks.

  37. Justin: Thanks for weighing in. I appreciate you thoughts here. I didn’t listen to the Piper talk, but skimmed the transcript. As far as I can tell, AKEagles words above, “Men should be ready to go with or without the spouse using an in-country nanny if they are truly called to go,” are his/hers and not Piper’s.

  38. I think we may be skating on thin ice when we find ourselves reaching dogmatic conclusions about what other Christians should or shouldn’t do when multiple biblical principles – and complicated life stories – may be involved. Faithfulness to ministry, putting one’s mate before the ministry, and striving for unity may be in tension and manifested in a variety of ways from one season to another and one life to another. How is God leading? How is he providing?

    In reading those missionary biographies from the early years of the modern mission movement it may be helpful to remember that serving overseas could be death sentence, especially for pregnant women and the very young. It may have appropriate for missionary men to leave wives and children at home, or send them away when conditions got worse.

    While some MK’s are sent to boarding schools, etc, few mission-sending entities today would separate spouses for long, or send out a missionary on the basis of the “call,” passion, or skill of one family member without exploring what that meant for the rest of the family. If they aren’t in it together, they’re not going.

  39. I did not read through all the responses so this may have been said already.

    While it certainly is ideal for both to be passionate with the like-minded vision for the nations, and while that is absolutely necessary to move overseas, it is possible to take a single passion in the marriage relationship for the nations and utilize that locally as the nations have come to roost in our backyard.

    Just like most husbands and wives work in different careers, revealing different passions in life (pastor and teacher for our marriage), so it’s possible for one to engage in ministry for the nations while the other engages in some other endeavor. You never do it alone anyway, as you join others in the mission, just not your spouse.

    I have led many ST trips from our church with a total of 500 people to Mexico (intro to cross cultural missions) and my wife has never joined me, much to my disappointment. However, we have formed friendships with international students from India over the years and had them in our home.

    And I shouldn’t forget that my wife joined me on a 6 month sabbatical to Nigeria with our two kids in 1985. Maybe that’s what finished her off for overseas ministry :).

  40. Doug: Thanks for weighing in with your thoughts and personal experience. You give hope and insight for people who are trying to honor both God and their spouse as they practically work out their calling.

  41. Here’s an example of, “Naomi will find ways to express that heart for the nations locally”….a friend who wanted to serve abroad as a missionary remained in the US because the spouse did not share the same call. My friend (along with spouse and children) have been significantly reaching the nations that God has been bringing to their neighborhood for about 20 years now…they are richly engaged in global missions at home and in the homes of church members; they are leading a church-based “diasporic” missions ministry with scores and perhaps hundreds of church volunteers engaged in ministry among international peoples who have come to reside in the community or study at the surrounding campuses.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Missions Catalyst welcomes comments, especially those that provide additional insights on a topic or story as a help to other readers. We reserve the right to screen comments and may provide light editing. Note that comments including links may be delayed so we can make sure they are not spam; we hope you will include relevant links, anyway!