– Dietrich Bonhoeffer
On a recent literature distribution trip into a restricted access Southeast Asian country our XMA team sat down with our career missionary host for debriefing at the end of the week. After we reported where we had gone and about our encounters with the people our host shared this story about how we never know the full impact of our obedience to God’s call;
Several years ago Jim, one of the missionaries living in this country, went out into the rural areas distributing Gospel materials one day. On his train ride back into the city Jim discovered he still had one piece of literature in his pocket. Concerned that he might get caught with it at a security checkpoint he inconspicuously slipped it into the seatback pocket as he disembarked the train.
A few years later Jim met an older, highly respected monk who had come to know Christ and asked him how he had heard the Gospel. The monk shared how he began to develop an insatiable desire for the ultimate truth. His quest for truth took him many places around the country. During a train ride one day he discovered an old torn pamphlet in the seat pocket. There was only half of a page left but as he read it he realized in his heart that this was the Truth he had been searching for. Now his quest took on a new twist as he began asking everyone if they knew anything about this pamphlet and where he might learn more. His search eventually led him to some national believers who helped the old monk learn the rest of the story and to accept Christ.
And so it is with our recent journey and every XMA trip. We will never know what the Lord does with His Word that we gave out, with our prayers for the people as we looked into their eyes, with our sacrifice of service to the King. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote shortly before his martyrdom, “There is meaning in every journey that is unknown to the traveler”.
God has called us to “Go into all the world…”. The results of our journeys are not up to us and, in many cases, will never be known by us, the travelers, but we trust that God will bless His Word and use our small sacrifice for His glory.