There were days during my years in overseas ministry when I wondered if anyone remembered me. I hadn’t heard from my parents in a while or received any mail (or later, an email). Didn’t they know I needed someone to show they cared?
If you’re able to read this blog post, then more than likely you’re much more “connected” with the world than I was in the early years of my time in service. Being connected, however, doesn’t always mean you hear from people that really want to hear from you. Even texts and video calls can be superficial and leave a lot to be desired. So, what do you do when you feel more and more isolated in ministry and life?
Remember whose you are.
He who knew you in the inmost parts certainly knows you now. You are your Beloved’s just as much today as you were on the day you put your trust in him. Though you feel like you’re walking in the valley of the shadow of death, He is still with you. When you are afraid, the Lord goes with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. You can cast all your anxieties and worries on him because he cares for you.
If you are struggling to remember, go to the Word. Cry to him in your loneliness and let him fill the void.
Remember you are part of a larger family.
Even when your blood relatives break connections or don’t get why you’re doing what you’re doing, God has blessed us with a larger and even more tight-knit family—His. If you are letting your needs be known through newsletters or video messages, be comforted in the fact that brothers and sisters in Christ are praying for you. While connecting with you is an encouragement, it is more important that they are connecting with the Father on your behalf, lifting up the requests you share for yourself, yes, but also for those you serve.
A dear sister in my life group often talks about the importance of Christians “being real.” This extends to you in ministry as well. Don’t be shy to share with your prayer supporters that you are struggling and could use some encouragement. God will take that act of transparency and lay it on the heart of someone who will reach out at just the moment you need it. People can’t react to what they don’t know.
You are remembered by those who’ve gone before.
Anyone who’s served in cross-cultural or local ministry becomes the next generation of prayer supporters for that people once they retire or move on. I cannot help but pray for the people and countries where I have served. As one who knows the challenges in those places, I can easily pray for those who are serving there now. My service overseas also leads me to pray for other countries and peoples when I see the news or hear of trials in a specific place.
You may not hear directly from former missionaries or ministers, but you can rest in knowing they are praying for you. Until the Lord returns or calls us home, those who know what’s at stake are praying. Take comfort in that and thank God for them.
Reach out to those who write or blog.
If you’re struggling today with feeling forgotten, write me! If you don’t write me, write another blogger or author who writes on missions and service. I will answer you and pray for you. You are not forgotten.
Grace and Peace