Happy Missionaries

May 29, 2005

HAPPY MISSIONARIES by Ray Pritchard Last Sunday night we had a farewell reception for two missionary couples that will soon be leaving the U.S. to return to the field. Tim and Deb Carpenter will go to Uganda where Tim will serve as a missionary pilot with Africa Inland Mission. Tim will be flying out of Entebbe airport, a site made famous by the successful Israeli raid to free the hostages in 1976. He will be flying from there to various locations in African nations, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, and the Central African Republic. Paul and Christy Knudson will be returning soon to Bolivia where they serve with SIM. In their last term, Paul and Christy lived in Sucre where Paul did quite a bit of teaching and leadership development. In this term, they plan to learn Quechua and move to the countryside so they can live in a Quechua village and help establish new churches and strengthen existing churches. After listening to both couples, I came away with a sense of their joy and excitement. No doubt they could stay in America and have very effective careers here, but they have willingly chosen to go to distant parts of the world and adjust to living conditions considerably more difficult than what they would have in the U.S. But they did not speak the language of sacrifice that night. They were glad to be going back to South America and Africa. Grateful for the year they have spent in the U.S. but eager to return to their true calling. Tim and I talked about the question of safety while living overseas. A few years ago the Carpenters had to move to a different country because of political instability. In a post-9/11 world where terrorism remains a constant threat, missionaries are not exempt from danger just because they are serving the Lord. As we talked, I asked a rhetorical question, “Where are you safer””in Chicago or Africa?”

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