Keeping the Faith: Answering the call

Published: Thursday, January 24, 2013 at 10:03 AM.

When my friend Scott was young, he began to experience a stirring deep in his heart that some Christians refer to as “a divine calling.” How could Scott ignore such a thing, conditioned as he had been to hear God’s quiet voice?

Scott, in the words of Feroll Sams, had been “raised right” in the Baptist tradition, which meant he “was not only Saved but had spent a large part of his formative years in the House of the Lord … and while Methodists probably could be Saved, there was a question whether any of them really had been raised right.”

Scott did not run away from this calling. He embraced it, and after college, marrying Karen (who also had been “raised right” and possessed this same “calling”), and a few years in seminary, this couple found themselves working for one of the largest missions organizations in the world.

Mexico, Central America, the Middle East, and the Persian Gulf: Scotty and Karen traversed the globe for nearly 20 years in faithful service, raising their children, aiding indigenous people groups, and living out the love and witness of Christ. It all came to a grinding halt, however, when the mission organization for which they worked deemed their medical mission financially unsustainable, but completely for reasons other than shrinking dollars and cents.

Simply, not enough people were becoming Christians. Conversions. Baptisms. Increasing numbers of those who have “prayed the sinner’s prayer.” Public professions of faith. Churches being planted and cross-topped buildings being constructed. These were the outcomes that were required by the mission executives. When these outcomes were not forthcoming, the organization refused to keep pouring dollars into such an “unreceptive region.”

Scott and Karen pleaded with the mission’s executives to reconsider this decision. Their medical facility was serving an entire region of needy people, treating tens of thousands of patients a year. A part of the world that had been antagonistic was finding it increasingly difficult to hate those who were loving, medicating, and saving their children and elders.

A mission executive responded to the pleas of Scott, Karen, and the medical staff with these words: “We have no obligation to the bodies of those whose souls are going to hell.” The facility was defunded, dollars were reallocated to more “productive areas,” and the missions’ staff, including Scott and Karen, was recalled to the States. To this day, their hearts are still broken.



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