A few years ago, I knew a set of twins—I’ll call them Sarah and Sasha—who were both passionate about missions. They were both profoundly introverted, and yet expended nearly all of their social energy on supporting and promoting global outreach awareness and prayer events at college. They both dreamed and prayed of a life in Kingdom service abroad.
There were two obstacles: one, they had parents who needed increasing help and care as they coped with disability. And second, they had significant student loans. Sarah and Sasha talked and prayed, and after graduating Sarah joined a team serving in Asia. Sasha returned home to be with her parents, and get a job to start tackling those loans.
I’ve received a number of letters from Sarah over the years, with news of how she has come along in learning the language, of significant relationships with coworkers and students where she has opportunities to share Jesus. She has been able to travel and visit many local families, and has had no shortage of opportunities to speak about God and the life He offers.
It has been easy to see, and rejoice, in the significant service Sarah has offered.
Last week I got a letter from Sasha. After eight years at home, she has an opportunity to go and visit Sarah this summer and partner with her on a short-term outreach trip to a neighboring Asian country. Sasha has saved up for many years to pay for this trip, but needed some help to pay for the relief care for her parents, who cannot do without outside physical assistance these days.
It occurred to me how little I had noticed or esteemed Sasha’s service, while it has been no less significant, or costly.
Sasha has given her twenties to caring for her parents, and working to pay off loans: something very few first world young adults have to do. She has done so prayerfully, willingly, and quietly; offering a support without which her sister could not have gone.
And yet she doesn’t get to introduce herself as being “a missionary”, and she doesn’t have the stamps in her passport (not that I am glamorizing the life of a missionary, but still….)
The service of those who send and support is no less valuable than those who go. Those who write checks for sponsor children are just as critical as those who distribute the food and teach the lessons on the other side. Those who faithfully pray through the prayer letters in their email folder are just as critical as those who sit cross-legged in small huts, sharing the good news of God.
So much of the world’s critical work is accomplished by people in the quiet of their houses: being faithful to pray and give, even if they never get to go and do.
For every Sarah in the world, there is a network of unsung heroes: quiet Sashas whose faithful service is noticed and rewarded by the Father who sees what is done in secret.
May we be faithful Sarahs and Sashas, wherever God has placed us.