The eighth installment of our Missions Essentials series deals with faith. This entry is written by Andrew Comings, who serves with his wife Itacyara in Brazil.
The dusty, pockmarked road, characteristic of that desolate region of Brazil, stretched as far as the eye could see. There were no houses, no gas stations, no people. It would be a terrible place to be stranded.
And we were stranded. The car would not go another inch. It was 1995, and I was almost a year into a short-term mission adventure with Baptist Mid Missions.
Observing my missionary friends that afternoon, I was struck by their absence of worry. In fact, I noticed something rather incongruous … joy! At one point, the missionary even exclaimed, “I wouldn’t trade this for anything in the world.”
I was seeing faith in action. Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Their confidence encapsulated this concept. They did not know the outcome, but they knew the One who knows.
Baptist Mid Missions includes faith—trusting God in all aspects of His work—as one of its core values. In my long association with BMM, I can affirm that this is not simply wishful thinking on the part of the administration. Faith is at the center of every facet of this organization.
Baptist Mid Missions began on faith. A century ago a group of six missionaries left for Africa with only the vaguest ideas of what lay before them. They could not have dreamed that their nascent agency would one day serve over a thousand missionaries on every inhabited continent.
Here in Brazil, names like Guy McLain, Harold Reiner, and Jim Willson are still remembered with gratitude in the hundreds of churches that now form our national association. When those early missionaries arrived on the field, all of that was still in the future. They saw it only with the eyes of faith.
Baptist Mid-Missions missionaries today carry on that same heritage of faith. For most of us, it begins by visualizing ourselves involved in a ministry far from home and way out of our comfort zones.
Upon joining BMM, we trust God for our financial support. This means visiting church after church, trusting that the Lord will stir them with the same vision that has stirred us. Officially called deputation, I refer to it as “faith boot camp.” This is the process by which we learn to look at an unreached community and see a local church, or a vacant piece of property and see a camp, or a misbehaving boy and see a future pastor.
As missionaries, the message of faith is constantly on our lips. It’s literally part of our job description: “… preach the Gospel to every nation.” What Gospel? “For by grace you have been saved through faith …”
Back on that dusty road in Brazil, we began to sing to pass the time—a song that fits perfectly with our core value of faith:
“Lord, send me anywhere, only go with me. Lay any burden on me, only sustain me …”