“Aren’t you afraid?”
This question has been one of everyone’s first when my husband and I talk about moving to Kenya to be missionaries. Our response to this question is and always will be, “No.”
Don’t get me wrong, I understand why everyone asks this question. In all honesty I have probably asked someone this question in my lifetime too.
In this blog I want to focus on why my husband and I always respond “no” to this question. Our response always seems to shock people, so I am hoping this blog will be an encouragement to everyone and help you understand our response better.
The first time I was asked this question, my head kind of spun. “Am I afraid?”
I hadn’t really thought too much about being afraid at that point in our planning. All I could think about was the people we would reach for Jesus, the children we would get to see filled with joy because they found their Savior, the friendships we would make with people from another country and the magnificent way that God would use us to bring His name glory. So when I heard, “Aren’t you guys afraid?” I honestly stopped for a good 20 seconds to think about it. The person who asked me probably thought I wasn’t listening. After my head spun in 10 directions all that I could say with firm confidence was “No”. Then they asked, “But isn’t it like really dangerous over there?” Now, this question didn’t throw me too far off because I had spent an insane amount of hours thoroughly researching the specific area we would be living in Africa for a class assessment. I had researched everything from climate to population to religion to electricity usage to violence. So when she asked this I said, “Yes.” But I continued, “Everywhere is dangerous though, something could happen to anyone anywhere.” I don’t think they liked that response too much because they simply responded with, “True.”
I am not telling this story to make anyone feel bad about asking this question, or to cause worry, I tell this story to express how deep our confidence in Christ is and how sincere my husband and I both are when we say, “No, we are not afraid.”
Yes, we all face doubts and fear. We are human and we are not perfect. I have had moments, even in recent months, where I have had to stare fear in the face and continuously proclaim that “God is above all” and “perfect love casts out all fear.” (1 John 4:18) Fear will come, but we have a choice to let it win or to proclaim the Name of the One who has already won.
The world thousands of years ago and the world today holds many dangers and threats. When we focus on these dangers and threats, we become angry, paralyzed, depressed, confused and eventually the fear prevents us from doing anything. But that is not the life we want to live, that is not the life anybody should live. God has a greater purpose on the Earth, and we get to be a part of this greater purpose, we get to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. To let fear stop us from doing what God has called us to do would be selfish and ultimately it would be a waste.
I would hate to get into my 50’s or 60’s and think about “that one time I could have done “this” but I was too afraid…” I want to live a life where in my 50’s and 60’s I am still asking God, “So, what’s next?”
One of my favorite scriptures is John 6:33, when Jesus is speaking to his disciples about His death and resurrection. He says, “In this world you WILL have troubles. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” We cannot run from the truth that in this world there WILL be trouble. We cannot live in denial or hide behind the walls of what we think is “safety”. We have no reason to fear. Jesus tells us that He has already overcome the world! He is greater than the troubles, the violence, the pain, the poverty, sickness, disease, He is greater than death, He has overcome the grave!
We have a mission. A commission. We are to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, to lead people to their Savior, Jesus Christ. (See: Matthew 28:16-20). So who are we, to stand by paralyzed by our fear as the world continues to suffer, as humanity continues to cry out for a Savior? We know that Jesus is our Savior, the Savior of all of humanity. How can we possibly keep this to ourselves? We are confident that what we are doing is worth the risk.
Is it dangerous? Yes. Are we afraid? No. Is it worth it? Yes.