Time of Rest, Reflection,Refreshing

January 2016

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4 Main Reasons Why Missionaries Leave The Field

Just think for a moment of the hundreds or even thousands of lives that would not be impacted for the Kingdom if the enemy could get the missionaries to leave the field or abandon the call and purpose of God on their lives for a particular region or country. Think for a moment of the many unreached people groups in the world, people who have little to no access to the Gospel that possibly would not hear the Good News because men and women abandon their mission. Think for a moment of the thousands of boys and girls who will go to bed hungry tonight. Think for a moment of the tens of thousands of boys and girls who will be sexually abused or trafficked. The Missionary is a life line to these precious souls.

We have seen many people leave the field because of these 4 reasons over the course of the past year and even though Bonnie and I faced some of these struggles ourselves we have been determined not to allow it to dictate or determine our destiny in what God has called us to. These are some of the things people can face when on the mission field and if they don't have the proper perspective and balance, often times it will cause them to leave.

These reasons were shared with us a few months ago by a dear friend at an underground church service.

1. Sickness- I encountered my own struggles with sickness, my blood pressure was high, I fell while hiking one night and injured my shoulder, I had what I thought was a serious case of food poisoning. All these of which made me want to leave China just for treatment because I didn't want to get treated in a foreign country.

2. Loneliness- There were times where we felt alone and abandoned, felt like we had no one or no where to turn to. Times of hiddenness where even God didn't seem present. We missed our friends and family back home, situations continually pulling at us that cause us to question what God has called us to accomplish.

3. Conflict- On many different levels we experienced differences of opinion, differences in doctrine, conflicting schedules, the inconvenience of having to exit the country, lack of communication, people being MIA, and of course the constant language barrier and personal struggles of learning a foreign language.

4. Finances- Let's be honest, it takes money to live abroad. Many people quit their jobs to move to the mission field full time with hopes that they will be able to continue to raise support and eventually see their money that was set apart for that particular mission dwindling away. Some even lose the focus of their mission due to lack of finances or support and begin to take on full time work or venture into business, forsaking their ministry, call and election only to end up leaving the field anyway.

I have personally spoke with people over the past year that were planning on or did go "back home" because of one or more of these four reasons.

Chris Tomlin - The Table (Love Ran Red Acoustic Sessions)

Rest, Reflection and Refreshing

1. Rest- " come to me all those who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" Mathew 11:28 - To rest means freedom from activity or labor- In a culture that pushes activity, the Lord calls us to rest. It is time for us to rest in who He is, what He is doing and what He has done for us throughout this past year. It has been very demanding on us over the past year both physically and spiritually. We were constantly on the go. Constantly trying to have the proper balance in our life and ministry. Demanding schedules, always giving out and very little coming in. Cold weather took a toll on me because I just couldn't seem to get warm. We encountered differences of opinion, cultural barriers, our western mindset clashing with the locals, all of which made me realize that it is time to rest.

2. Reflection- "I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways. I will delight myself in thy statutes; I will not forget thy word." Psalm 119:15-16- We want to reflect back over the year on how God worked in, around and through us. Even reflect on those things that were negative or bad because it is through those things that we can learn and grow from, what worked, what didn't, what could we have done differently and what can we do different next time. It's time to pray openly and honestly about any ongoing difficulties and give thanks for all the victories along the way. Reflect on those things that made an impact in our lives and those things that stretched us, causing us to get outside of our comfort zones. Reflect on the things that have changed us, caused us to grow, frustrated and angered us so that we can deal with it and move on to the next step God has for us. What did we learn about ourselves? Did we fulfill our commission? Did we operate in our calling, using the gifts, talents and abilities He has given us?

"I will meditate in your wonderful works" Psalm 145:5

3. Refreshing-"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint " Isaiah 40:31 - The word refreshing means to restore strength, to replenish, arouse or stimulate. We all need to be renewed, refreshed so that we can continue the work He has for us. We need a clear and definite plan for the next season. Time to quiet down all the voices of distraction and allow the Holy Spirit to arouse and stimulate a freshness in us. We need to be renewed so that we are prepared to carry out His next steps in our life (Spiritually, physically, emotionally/mentally and financially.) This will come from resting in God, reflecting back openly and honestly on the past year and then allowing the Holy Spirit to bring about the refreshing and a renewal.

Chris Tomlin - Good Good Father (Audio)

Happy New Year From The Swearingen Clan

We would like to wish everyone a happy new year, may it be filled with the fulness of God. Our prayer is that you would take the time to rest, reflect and be refreshed and renewed in the things of our father. We believe that He will bring about clarity, confirmation, certainty, comfort and confidence in each of your lives during 2016. We would also like to personally thank each of you for praying for us as well as those who have sown financially into our lives over the past year.

Prayer Request

  • Please pray about partnering with us financially so that we can continue building relationships with the unreached people groups of Southeast Asia. We are believing for at least 100 people to partner with us financially for as little as $15.00 a month, this will allow us to continue to spread the gospel to the unreached people groups of Southeast China.
  • Our plans to visit Nagaland and Nepal in late November and December to speak to local missionaries and leaders as well as visit some orphanages in a very poor area- have now been changed to the late summer of 2016. Please pray that I would have the guidance and direction needed.
  • We would like to see more of the locals rise up and begin to lead areas of ministry in the local churches, outreach centers, life groups and English corners.
  • We are beginning to really see an outpouring of grace and a hunger in the lives of the students here and are in need of more laborers.
  • Please pray that we have the direction we need to know where to go and that we have the finances needed for moving in that direction.
  • Please visit our website and blog at bkmissions.weebly.com