Just spoke with a friend heading to Haiti to serve and help out down there. He shared that in his initial preparation of the trip he was excited and felt it fit perfectly in his schedule to make this trip. Coming down to the wire, however, he was feeling all sorts of nerves.
There is an interesting paradox in missions. Missions seems so glamorous in the idea, planning, storytelling and calling stages. In reality, however, when missionaries and ministers are getting ready to head to the field, it is extremely tough. The furthest feeling from glamorous.
Michelle and I have realized this over and over again. Not only with our own trips, but in our friendships with full and part time missionaries in many areas of the world. The missionaries stories of God "coming through" for them and their families on the field are too numerous to count and inspire us and challenge us to make our lives count for God.
But the reality is also that missionaries have to go through the thick of it. They have chosen a life that is not comfortable. Whoever said God's call would be easy was wrong, many times it messes people up. (BTW, In light of eternity, God's call is always by far the most glamorous choice). But here on earth, missionaries sacrifice the most, hurt the worst, are barraged by questions, toils and troubles.
That's why we need to remember to pray hard for missionaries. We need to cry out to God for them every day. I love what my brother Jon and his wife Janet do - they teach their two daughters to pray every night for the missionaries they support around the world. Pray that they would be covered in the protection and mercy of God. Pray that their families would endure and be full of the fruits of the Spirit. Pray that God would be overwhelmingly evident in their hearts at every step of the journey and that they would sacrifice gladly in light of the cross.
They will go down to save others ... if we will hold the ropes (through frequent prayer and financial support).