The past few weeks have been full of multiple trips to our storage facility & various stores, building wooden crates, loading boxes, packing, wrapping, and loading. This is in preparation for taking things to Ghana that we will use both personally and for ministry.
This Friday, a container will arrive and we will have two hours to pack all of these items into it and bid the container bon-voyage as it crosses the ocean. Hopefully we will see it again in six to eight weeks.
We’ve reflected that long ago missionaries didn’t have this convenience of packing a container and sending it ahead of their arrival. Instead, many of them purchased their own coffins and loaded all of their personal and ministry items into that coffin and took it with them. Why a coffin? Because the survival rate wasn’t very high for missionaries headed to West Africa. Many of them died from malaria and other tropical diseases before their ministries had an opportunity to begin. They packed their coffin and departed for their area of service fully understanding that they may indeed be departing for an early death. Contrast that to today where we are packing a container, “thinking” that when the day comes to return to the US, we will repack it and bring our stuff back to US soil. We’re reminded of the chicken vs. pig fable. Perhaps you’ve heard it before. When it comes to breakfast, what’s the difference between the chicken and pig? The chicken is involved (non-sacrificial) and the pig is committed (sacrificial). The early missionaries were pigs. They purchased and packed their coffins because they were committed to sharing the gospel even unto death.
Reality of our decision to follow Christ and serve Him in Ghana becomes more established with each passing day. In just a few days our possessions will depart and seven weeks later we will depart. Seven weeks! We are committed to this. Chris walked away from a 24+ year career, we sold our dream home, and we’re leaving our children in the US to finish their education. And while these are sacrifices, there is still a part of us that feels like the chicken – only involved contributors.
The journey which began in 2004 when we first said “yes” to going on a short-term mission trip to Ghana, is about to begin in earnest as we prepare to leave US soil and settle ourselves into daily life in a foreign culture. We pray that we will not be faced with a life or death decision, but if we are, our prayer is that we would lean fully on the Holy Spirit and embrace the pig – being fully committed followers of Christ.
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
1 John 3:16
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.