Friends of mine, from the mission field, were in church this past Sunday. It was a great surprise, literally, as I didn't know they were in town until I saw them during service.
Pastor asked them during the service to give a quick update on their ministry, after which we prayed over them. It was great to hear the encouragement of the "banner year" they experienced in the ministry.
I don't know that exact ratio, but I'd dare say that for every missionary that had a great year in 2015 and an encouraging report is one or two others, had an incredibly difficult 2015 and are facing discouragement.
It may not be a 1:1 ratio, but it's more often than we may know.
In fact, curiosity got the best of me, as I was thinking yesterday afternoon, about 1500-1700 pastors leave the ministry each month, but what about missionaries? The organization at www.missionary-burnout.com, says 5400 missionaries leave every year for "preventable reasons". 5400 per year. Or 450 a month. On average, 15 each day!! Almost 2 an hour while you work a full-time job. OUCH!!
It's easy to get discouraged. Prolonged discouragement opens the door to distractions. Distractions take you away from what you are working on; what you are focused on; what you are engaged in. Pretty soon you are detoured; because you start noticing things that don't look familiar; that aren't part of the plan. And now that you don't know where you are and where stuff is, you are ready to be derailed. (aka: blind-sided)
But it all starts by throwing enough stuff your way to get you frustrated to the point that it goes beyond the surface and into your spirit. The beginning of the road to burn-out.
Thus, pray this #missionsFriday, for missionaries on the verge of burn-out. For the 15 who may make the decision to leave sometime today... may God supernatural intervene and perform the miraculous in their hearts and minds. Pray for healing and restoration for those who have already left, even in the first 7 days of 2016. May they find strength and rest for their souls, hearts and minds. Pray that hope returns and the promise of what God planted in them when they first ventured out is fulfilled. May the fire of their calling be reignited; the passion for the lost renewed; the determination to advance the cause of Jesus Christ revived.
For the glory and honor of God. May His grace cover the burnt out. LIFE to dry bones in dead places. In name of Jesus.
Just a man, attempting to fulfill God's plan. Husband, Dad, Dreamer. Blogger.