Beginning in the 1800’s and continuing through the early Twentieth Century, the Christian churches of the United States sent many missionaries around the world to serve and witness to pagan peoples. While the US still sends more missionaries abroad than any other country, surprising numbers of missionaries are now being sent TO the US from former mission fields. One only needs to scan the media to know the America we live in is growing increasingly pagan with each passing year.
As a child in a small Methodist church, I was impressed with the visiting missionaries and their reports from Africa, Asia, and South America. These people of faith left family and comforts behind and stepped into pagan cultures to serve in answer to the Great Commission. I longed to share the adventure. As I grew, I became aware of the obstacles of raising financing and learning new languages and customs that face hopeful missionaries.
I resigned myself to supporting missionaries with prayers, donations, and occasional notes of encouragement, because I didn’t have the money or education to go to the mission field.
Maybe you have had a similar experience. If so, I’ve got good news! The mission field has come to us. No need for expensive travel and you are already familiar with the language and customs. How cool is that?
… behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, that they are white already unto harvest. – John 4:35 (ASV)
missionaries from the Nineteenth Century, such as Adoniram Judson, to see how they approached their pagan cultures.