While our call to missions may be as individuals, our work never is. We need others to walk with us in service. In a recent conversation with a friend who serves overseas, she was asking for prayer, as she’s currently without a partner.
Serving alone is hard.
I know this because I lost my missions partner five years ago this week. Though I’d heard the call of God on my life at the tender age of ten, and though I had served overseas two years as a single after college; it was not until I met and married Raouf Ghattas, that I found my true missions partner.
For the next twenty-five years, we lived missions together.
Whether it was in the Middle East, North Africa, or the United States, our focus was on reaching the nations. That calling took many forms over the years, from direct evangelism, church planting, discipleship, teaching, mentoring, and writing. We did them in unity and harmony, as each of us worked from the gifting the Spirit had given, and God blessed.
Then he was gone. A partner no more.
What do you do when your two becomes one? What happens to your mission?
You grieve and change. The mission may change completely, or the Lord may bring another alongside to help you continue to serve. It will still look different, but having a new partner helps you carry on.
Sometimes that change comes with remarriage. I will never forget when the Lord brought together two people who were both serving in our region of the world when their spouses died. It didn’t happen right away, but after some time, they met and saw God’s hand in joining their lives and families together to carry on the ministry.
I have also seen a person come alongside a recently widowed or single missionary, becoming a new source of support in service. God provides as the need requires.
Yet, there are those who carry on alone, though never alone with Christ. When this happens, as in my case, ministry changes. No longer to reach families or serve together in a church, but to write, to minister to women (or men, as the case may be), to start a prayer group or Bible study.
The work does not end just because we lose our missions partner, but God may be moving us in a new direction.
As I remember my loss today, I pray you will give yours to God, asking him to provide comfort and direction for the future.
Remember your true ministry partner is always by your side — his name is Jesus.
Grace and Peace