What Exactly Is the Role of a Missionary?

Many people believe that a missionary spends his time out in the streets preaching and visiting for hours every day. Or he is in an office preparing sermons. Of course, missionaries do (or they should) spend time doing those things, but we want to give you a glimpse into some of the other roles that we missionaries have to fulfill on a daily basis so that you will know how to pray for us better.

Missionaries show compassion.

Last week, I (Melissa) spent some time “doctoring” the finger of an albino child in our neighborhood. Her neighbors and her mom think she is cursed because she is white. I fixed her hurt finger, gave her some sunscreen to protect her fair skin, and showed her that she has value to Christ. We love on malnourished babies, we sit and listen to the widow’s stories of her ailments, and we kneel down and pray with the ones who are nearest death, not knowing what they are dying from.

Missionaries show hospitality.

Let me preface my next statements by saying that we LOVE having visitors. But even one visitor does mean extra work: more trips down the mountain, extra activities to arrange, sometimes even giving up our own bed. But opening our home and our lives to that one guest may mean that one more person gets a vision for missions or a greater burden for the lost. And every person we have entertained in our home has been such a blessing to our family and ministry.

Missionaries educate.

Recently a widow in the church was very sick. We could have easily given her food or money and been finished with the task very quickly. But instead, we worked with several ladies in the church to show them that it is the church’s responsibility to take care of their widows and how best to do that in this culture. It took time, but now the widow is well and back in church. It has been a tremendous amount of work and money to hold sign language classes for the hearing, but we are trying to educate a community to the value of deaf people and their capabilities to learn.

In short, missionaries invest. They invest their time and energy into the people to which they are called. In today’s world of fast food and quick fixes, many people want to come to the mission field, hold a big evangelistic campaign or a huge food give out, and then return home with huge numbers of salvations as results. Missionaries do more than that. Jude1:22 says, “And of some have compassion, making a difference.” Compassion takes time and energy. It is an investment into the lives of all people the Lord brings across your path. Why do we need your prayers? Because Satan would have us to be selfish in what we give to others. He would like us to focus on our own fatigue and discouragement in order to cause us to hold back our compassion, hospitality, education and investment in other people. Please pray that we would continue to follow in the steps of our Savior who wholly devoted Himself to the will of His Father—investing in others.

In Serving Jesus, Harry, Melissa, and Bethany Peart