There’s a word for everything in the Army
Soldiers are deployed overseas, leaving their families to pick up the pieces back home. The mothers, fathers, and children who are left behind when soldiers go off to war keep up “the homefront”. There are no mortars flying at them, no combat readiness drills, no Meals-Ready-to-Eat, but that doesn’t mean the job isn’t hard.
On the homefront a mother or father has to be both parents, has to adjust to managing the entire household on their own; children have to say good-bye to a parent, and then put all their faith in trust in only one, sometimes even being cared for by a grandparent or other relative. On the homefront communities pull together to take care of each other because they know how it feels. Families take care of other families, they make meals for widows, raise money for struggling families, host fundraisers, community events, and open houses. There is always something someone can do, and seldom a military family that doesn’t fit in.
Because they all have been there. They all share this common denominator: the Army.
Support far and near
Yes, in the field, there are inumerous supports for our soldiers. There are chapels, support groups, athletics, chaplains, counselors, even good ol’ American fast food when these things don’t hit the spot. There are buddy systems, suicide awareness programs, the list goes on and on. There is a lot of support for those who leave their home and comfort to do this job, but those at home are not forgotten.
Operation Homefront is one organization that strives to support the soldiers and families on the “homefront”, through various aids. They seek to offer relief, in which they aid military families during financial crisis through providing food, mechanic services, vision care, travel aids, moving expenses and aid, and more. They also seek to provide not only recovery to wounded warriors, but also support to their caregivers. Finally, they support every single military family member enrolled in their program through various efforts.
One thing the military community has learned is that those on the homefront need as much support as those in the field. They must not be forgotten. They cannot fall through the cracks.
The mission field
Teaching in the field
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is the only one that has reached nearly every country on the globe with the Gospel message. Through organizations like Adventist Frontier Missions, Adventist Volunteer, The Quiet Hour Ministries, North American Missions, and more families in indigenous villages can hear the Message in obscure languages. They receive healthcare and nutritional aid that isn’t possible otherwise. They have the opportunity to learn trades to operate and earn a living in a growing world. They learn how to grow crops to feed their families. The various ways that missionaries affect these communities for the good is exhaustless.
Miracles in the field
If you subscribe to magazines or newsletters for these mission organizations, you may read stories fairly often about miracles in the mission field. Miracles like those stricken with illness returning to rapid health, individuals returning from the dead, food and resources appearing as if from thin air, even missionaries able to speak indigenous languages without training or warning. The Spirit is outpouring in the mission field and it’s visible. The stories are amazing, and if you haven’t already, I encourage you to visit the websites of some of the organizations mentioned above. You are bound to receive a blessing as you read the stories there.
Funding the field
If you aren’t directly involved, you may not realize what goes into funding such missions as those mentioned. If you know someone serving in the mission field, subscribe to a newsletter or magazine, or your church sponsors any of the missionaries in the field, you may have a better understanding of how it works. The process to become a missionary is extensive. Not only is it a long application process, but once you are accepted to the program, there is a lengthy process of fundraising. Basically 100% of the missionaries’ needs are sponsored by donors–donors on the homefront.
Every penny donated to the mission effort is precious. It is all used to house missionaries, provide support and resources to those being evangelized, etc. There is a need there. This is one way that the homefront supports the mission. It is one very big way that people in America and other first world nations can make the mission possible. There is another need in America specifically, though.
According to a recent article the Seventh-day Adventist Church is the fastest growing denomination in North America, growing at 2.5%. This is definitely something to be proud of! These numbers are more than doubled when looking at the churches overseas. So, while the church is growing faster than other churches in North America, it isn’t growing faster than our own churches overseas.
Since the beginning of this cosmic conflict between good and evil there has been a common assault that Satan has used against humanity. Throughout The Bible the enemy creates a counterfeit to God’s perfect creation, attacking the character of our God. In Eden he did not create a lie to tell Eve. Instead, he offered a counterfeit. “You shall not surely die” he said, creating a half-truth counterfeit in her mind.
He did not stop with Eden, or even in Bible times. Satan creates counterfeits to God’s character even today. There are counterfeit Bibles that change, manipulate, and erase parts of scripture. There are counterfeit days of worship, removing the Holiness of the Sabbath. There are counterfeit messages of what happens when humans die, confusing people and removing the specialness of eternal life. There are counterfeits of heaven and hell, which attack the loving character of God. These many counterfeits combine to confuse people and distort the truth of God, which results in people rejecting God when they don’t even know Him.
The great commission is clear: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:19-20).
Do we go into all nations? Yes. Do we baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost? Yes. We teach them to observe those things Jesus commanded us. So what is the problem?
I have observed in 27 years in this church, half of which in the ministry, that our job in America is two-fold. First, we must rebut the counterfeit God that many people believe in. We can do this by our lifestyle, by our ministry, and by preaching the Word. It is hard, but it is vital. Until we do that, we cannot baptize them, or teach them to obey the things commanded, because first they must know Jesus.
Why so important?
If you heard someone talking about your best friend, would you defend them? What if you heard your sister’s husband talking bad about her to a group of people? You know the truth. You know it’s wrong, but do you speak up?
There is war waging around us, and the bad guys aren’t fighting with swords, guns, or bombs. The enemy uses cunning words today, just as he did in Eden. He creates counterfeits to God’s character, and we know the truth.
The rest of the problem
I won’t say it’s easy to raise money to go into a mission field. I’ve met missionaries, and it’s definitely hard work that they do. What I will say is that it’s not as easy to ask for money to work in this mission field, America. In America, if you want to minister full-time you are expected to also have a regular job, OR hold a degree in order to be officially paid for your work in ministry. When you pick up and move across the country to make Wyoming your mission field, or Missouri, or any other place, and ask people for money to help support you in order to minister full time you may receive a lot of quizzical looks.
Why can’t you work like the rest of us?
What makes them so special that they can just quit working and do evangelism?
Why should I pay him to do what I wish I could do? I can’t afford to quit work and just preach all day!
No, you may not hear these specific words, but the lack of support and resources can be just as communicative.
So what do we do?
How do American lay-ministers minister full-time without a job, and very little support?
I can do all things
Philippians 4:13 says it all. “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” And I can. And you can too. If you want to quit your job and work in a certain ministry full time, you can. If you want to pick up your family and move across the country to make someplace your mission field, you can. God makes it possible where men falter. I know He does because I’ve seen it. We did it.
God made Casper, Wyoming our mission field. We moved 1200 miles away, my husband worked 4 jobs at one point to support us while we settled here. Now he is about to quit his last non-ministry job to work for God full-time. Crazy? Some may think so. But we know that God’s mission field is in America too. We are setting out to make things right, to teach people the God we know and love, and fight the devil’s lies.
Won’t you make your hometown your mission field? No, you don’t have to quit your job, but what you can do is start looking at your backyard like so many have seen Uganda, Papua New Guinea, and similar places for years. I can say with confidence that at least someone on your block is confused about God, who He is, and what He’s about. Don’t you think we owe it to them, to ourselves, and to God to set things right?
There are some people who go overseas to preach the Gospel. There are some people who support them, financially or otherwise. There are also people who stay here to preach the Gospel. They need help too. I challenge you to be one of those preaching the Gospel in your neighborhood, at your school, or at work. Or I challenge you to support someone who is.
It takes everyone to do the work!