Catherine Finch is a junior communication studies major at Oklahoma Baptist University. She is passionate about serving the Lord, locally and around the globe. She works part-time in the University Marketing and Communications Office. This is a firsthand account of a recent trip she and her family took to serve missionary families. Her sister, Anna, is a freshman at OBU and her parents, Andy and Steva, are OBU alumni.
Note the destination of the trip as well as identities and photos of the missionary participants have been withheld for their safety.
During the first two weeks in January, I had the unique opportunity to travel to a historical city in Central Europe. While there, I, along with my family and friends, led a vacation Bible school for 10-year-olds. I made the trek with my parents, sister and two brothers.
This VBS was not for local children, but instead, it was for children of missionaries. These missionaries came from the Central Asia affinity group of the International Mission Board, and these missionary families serve in some of the least reached countries in the world, with less than 0.02 percent evangelical believers.
The countries in this affinity group are dominated by Islam, often with very rugged terrain, ripped apart by centuries of war, caught up in constant political upheaval and the base of operations for many of the world’s worst terrorist groups.
Because of their geographical limitations, these missionary families seldom worship with groups of other believers. The gathering we attended was an opportunity for the missionaries to worship alongside fellow missionary families, and to receive missional training; medical, dental and technological assistance; and most importantly, encouragement and fellowship.
I, along with those on my team, led a weeklong VBS for the 10-year-old children of these missionaries. Other teams led groups for children up to sixth grade and youth camp for those in middle school and high school. While their children were in VBS or youth camp, spending time with friends they see only once or twice a year, the missionaries attended seminars.
Hearing some of the stories from these missionary children rocked my world. Their families’ daily lives are centered around two things. First, they focus on building intentional relationships with the people in their location by meeting the locals in their context, learning the language and inviting the locals into their homes. Second, they share the gospel whenever they can, wherever they can and with whomever is willing to listen.
These missionary children, even at such a young age, were already aware of the dire need for the Gospel to intersect the lives of those around them. One boy, despite his friend’s parents’ attempt to halt their contact with each other, passed notes about Jesus to his friend through a drain pipe, just to share the Gospel, even in such a simple form.
One of the most important things we can do as disciples of Christ is to keep the current missionaries on the mission field. Whether by giving to Lottie Moon to support their missions efforts was well as more meetings of encouragement and rejuvenation for missionaries, like the one I attended, or attending a meeting and offering encouragement and assistance ourselves – we can encourage those on the field.
They are not blessed with a supportive church family they see every Wednesday and Sunday. Yet, they are spreading the church, the body of Christ, and they need us to pray constantly, to tithe obediently and, if God calls us, to go to the ends of earth along with them.
Hebrews 10:24-25 states, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”
This trip was a blessing to me and my family, and I am so glad we had the opportunity to bless these faithful missionary families.
For information about mission trips through OBU, visit www.okbu.edu/global-outreach.