What work comes without a cost? For Ken & Stephanie Springsteen, David & Debbie Walker, and Pastor Tim Gibson, life as a missionary is what counting the cost is all about. Going to foreign lands, leaving everything behind home, and take the available flights to their destinations of where God wants them to be are indeed counting a great cost. Their hearts’ passion is for the gospel to be shared to all the nations of the world.
What do they have in common? - A love and heart for the Lord: to sacrifice their comfortable home life to serve in foreign missions. What is the cost that they have to dearly pay? In Matthew 10:37 it says that “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me, and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” With this command it is enough for them to sacrifice their lives for the gospel sake.
The cost for such an obedience is high, as Ken & Stephanie will tell you. They had to leave their five lovely children at Boarding School while they were still young when they were serving as Director of Operations at New Tribes Missions in Papua New Guinea. They only had the opportunity to see their children during their school vacations, and time with them was really short and precious.
Ken adds, “My time with my children is very precious because my wife and I only get to see them during their school vacations. I will take all the opportunity to do snorkeling, hiking up the mountains with them, scuba dive in deep sea, and do all kinds of things to spend those precious moments with them.”
David adds, “One of the hardest thing for me as a missionary is to miss my parents and children. My children are now in their early 20’s, not being with them is hard.” For Tim, keeping in touch with his parents meant tele-conferencing every Sunday at about 9 p.m. Tim says, “This is the only way for my children, Melody, 10, Gideon 8, and Matthew 1, to see, feel and keep in touch with my parents who lived in Devon (England).”
“Although obeying our Lord’s command demands everything, yet life as a missionary is one of the most honouring to the Lord”, says Ken. He continues, “One of the areas of the New Tribes Missions work is to preach the gospel directly to the tribal people. This takes time and efforts, and when they come to know the Lord, it is so satisfying.”
His wife Stephanie responds, “The noblest way to serve the Lord is to be transformed by His power through the sanctification process and emerge as champion for Christ. Preaching the gospel is noble and being transformed to be like Him is even more awesome.”
David and his wife Debbie can testify to that too, as they assist both missionaries already on the field and those in preparation for deployment to the mission fields. David adds, “Restoring the lives of the missionaries is most satisfying. Lifting up Christ in other peoples’ lives when they are hurting is one of the areas that is most neglected. A part of the fulfillment of the ministry is that He has called us to restore and help missionaries to re-discover the power of God in the gospel for their own lives. Missionaries, too, need to hear the gospel message once again. They need refreshment, rest and restoration in their walk with God more than anybody else.”
“As Francis Schaeffer says, “the present value of the blood of Christ is indeed relevant for missionaries to rediscover the power of the cross.”
Debbie continues, “The greatest danger that Christians face is to do the work of ministry in the power of their own flesh rather than in the power of the Holy Spirit. With the pressure of ministry, couple with our own weaknesses, as well as our sinful nature, abiding in Christ is most necessary. We need continual renewal in our places of ministry.”
Before David and Debbie came to Singapore, they were serving in Japan for 15 years. Their focused were ministering to the Japanese Christians in their spiritual life development, and also mobilizing prayer seminars, conferences, and assisting the missionary church planters. They also do training in the Church Planting Institutes of Japan.
The greatest response in all of these missionaries is that they have a unique call from God. Tim testify that in 1990 when he went to Tung Ling Bible School in Singapore, God spoke to him in Isaiah 49:2 that He will make him like a polished shaft of bright arrows that will shot into the nations. He adds, “God showed me that I will be mobilizing missions in Singapore, sending workers into all the nations of the world, and making an impact in the lives of the young people.”
“I see that happening right now as I see young people I taught previously now serving full time on the mission field.” Tim is now the Pastor of the English Congregation of the Church of Singapore (Bukit Timah).
When he first came to Singapore in 1988, he joined World Horizons (a missions organization started by Bill Ridgen in Singapore in 1988) as a missionary. He was involved in training churches and Christians in the area of missions, as the ministry concerns mobilizing Christians to go to the unreached areas. They are now actively involved in Cambodia and India ministry and had in the past led missions teams to Sabah, Sarawak, Taiwan, Thailand, India, and Myanmar.
They all have the same calling and the same passion to make world missions count. One thing is certain, they obeyed God to be missionaries and such passion and zeal are only possible as they are obedient towards the mission call.
The challenge to you is, will you too make your commitment to ‘go’ if God has impressed upon your heart that missions is for you. Will you go like Ken, Stephanie, David, Debbie and Tim? Will you give your heart to Jesus and serve and love Him with all your heart, soul, mind, strength and all of your being? The cost is high, but the joy of obeying the Lord is great. Won’t you do what God has called you to do? - To obey the Great Commission and go to all the nations of the world and preach the gospel! Matt 28:19&20.