As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.
From Our “Here”…
A desk calendar will identify for you the first day of autumn, winter, spring or summer. The distinction comes down to just how long the sun is above the horizon. An autumn or spring equinox evenly divides day and night. The winter and summer solstices make the day lopsided in favor of night and day, respectively.
For missionaries living overseas, a change of seasons can bring a sense of nostalgia. A family in Africa in October or November might imagine the cooler weather and changing foliage back home. Near the equator there are basically two seasons—rainy and dry—to choose from. Trees recycle their leaves through the year so slowly it’s hardly noticed.
For people living far enough to the north and south of the equator, an equinox or solstice marks opposite seasons. If you are enjoying the arrival of fall in the United States, missionaries serving in Buenos Aires or Johannesburg are heralding the first day of spring.
Go to the extreme boundaries of our planet, and the North Pole is headed into months of night as the South Pole enjoys 24-hour sunshine.
Think about it. If you’ve got e-mail or Facebook connections with friends far enough east or west of you, you’ve got a few time zones between you. If they live far enough north or south of you, it’s entire seasons.
…To God’s “There”
It’s important to remember that everyone’s challenges each day are unique and merit your understanding and prayers. Your “sunshine” is coexistent with someone else’s “ice storm.” Maybe your word of encouragement can help create a bridge between those seasons.
Do you faithfully pray for missionaries? Do you keep up with what is going on in their lives through newsletters or social media posts? What might your prayers prioritize in order to meet their needs?
The range of seasons is a good illustration of the vastly different situations in which missionaries live while proclaiming the gospel. Just as their geography and climate can differ, so too can the social and cultural guidelines they must remember when sharing the gospel.
Are you attending church openly and without fear? A growing number of missionaries proclaim the gospel where believers must meet secretly and live out their faith cautiously. Pray for their protection and peace as they serve faithfully in locations that are cold to the gospel.
Making the Leap
Seasons march through each year, and we commonly speak of longer seasons we experience in life. A growing reality in worldwide missions ministry is the inclusion of team members in both the spring and winter seasons of life. More and more young people are pursuing short-term assignments, seeking God’s direction for potential lifelong involvement in missions ministry. Pastors, entrepreneurs and people with unique skills are finding new opportunities to serve in their retirement years. How might God be leading you to maximize a life season in His service?