Posted by: The Jewell Family | February 14, 2011

The Need for Long Term Missionaries

Dear Friends and Colaborers,

I just received an email, today, concerning a missionary family that is leaving the field to return to the states. They are selling all of their possessions that they own here in the DR, and are moving back to the states. They have been here less than eight years now (but I am not sure of the exact time).

We have been missionaries here in the Dominican Republic for the past 10 years, and I feel like our ministry here is only just beginning. I have seen many missionaries come and go during the past 10 years, and I am always saddened to see them leave. We need men and women who are willing to pay the price to serve their Lord on foreign fields, winning the lost and establishing solid churches along the way. We need people who will “stick and stay, and make it pay,” as one of my Bible college professors would always say.

Being a missionary is not easy work, nor does it bring glory or riches. Most faithful missionaries will never become famous, much appreciated or seen as capable preachers. I don’t know how many times I have heard pastors say that, “Missionaries can’t preach”. Many pastors won’t allow missionaries to preach in their missions conferences, or when they come home on furlough to report back to the church because they see the missionary as “less” of a preacher.

We are sometimes seen as more of a burden than a blessing by some, and the difficulties can be great at times. Many pastors do not understand to hardships, trials and burdens of the missionaries they support. Every missionary should understand these things when they set out to follow the call that God has placed upon their lives. We need missionaries who will “count the cost” and keep their eyes on “Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.”

I’d like to end this thought with a quote from one of my heros, Adoniram Judson. He wrote this over his concern that a mission board was beginning to accept and send out short term missionaries. I hope you will take his letter to heart.

January 12, 1833

It is with regret and consternation that we have just learned that a new missionary has come out for a limited term of years. I much fear that this will occasion a breach in our mission. How can we, who are devoted for life, cordially take to our hearts and counsels one who is a mere hireling? On this subject, all my brethren and sisters are united in sentiment. We should perhaps address a joint letter to the board, but such a measure may not appear sufficiently respectful. May I earnestly and humbly entreat the board to reconsider this matter, and not follow implicitly in the wake of other societies (I beg pardon) whether right or wrong.

I have seen the beginning, middle and end of several limited term missionaries. They are all good for nothing. Though brilliant in an English pulpit, they are incompetent to any real missionary work. They come out for a few years with the view of acquiring a stock of credit on which they may vegetate the rest of their days, in the congenial climate of their native land. Do not a man and woman who cohabit for a time quarrel and part the first opportunity? And is not one end of the marriage tie for life to promote harmony and love? Just so in the case before us. As to lessening the trials of the candidate for missions, and making the way smooth before him, it is just what ought not to be done. Missionaries need more trials on their first setting out instead of less.

The motto of every missionary, whether preacher, printer or schoolmaster ought to be, ‘Devoted for life.’ A few days ago, Brother Kincaid was asked by a Burmese officer of government how long he intended to stay. ‘Until all Burmah worships the eternal God,’ was the prompt reply. If the limited term system which begins to be fashionable in some quarters gain the ascendency, it will be the death blow of missions, and retard the conversion of the world 100 years.

“Excuse my freedom of speech, and believe me to be

With all faithfulness and respect.”

Your ‘devoted for life’,

“A. Judson.”

Quoted from:

“The Earnest Man (Life and Labors of Dr. Judson)”

By H.C. Conant

Your friend and servant for Christ,

Roger Jewell

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Responses

  1. Let’s not forget that Paul was an itinerant missionary (Moving from place to place). Paul never stayed in one place more than three years. The biblical thing to do is to start your church and turn it over to nationals. It is not for the white american missionary to come and stay till he retires then send another white missionary to take his place. I understand this guy may not be going to another field but let’s not think staying in one place is biblical or productive.


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