Missionary Diary: Praying through the ups and downs of ministry

Bridget is a missionary with SIM, serving in South Africa, her home country. She studied at SMBC (2010-2012) in Sydney, Australia, before returning home. She serves as a women’s worker at Holy Trinity, Gardens, Cape Town.

If you remember about a year ago I wrote about Tammy, the lady I met through my dachshund Ruby. That day she professed to say she was an atheist and that she didn’t like the way Christians treated their dogs.

Well, the Lord answered prayer and she started reading Mark with me and then joined the Bible study that my husband and I run in our home. She continues to come. She often makes the most insightful comments and we think she is really “getting it.” She is often at our house for meals and we ran together this morning. She has started coming to church and last week she even came to the membership course.

“Satan is prowling around like a roaring lion” (1 Peter 5:8).

Over the months, we have met her family. Her brother belongs to a church that had previously put her off Christianity. He tells her that life is going badly for her because she is not fasting.  Her father got their whole family into financial disaster by following “the voice of God” and leaving his business to go on mission trips which he felt he was called to (on his own!) all over the world. I have met him and so have our kids, who quickly picked up that something was wrong – out of the mouths of babes!

It is hard to deal with these things happening in the name of our Lord, and yet it can happen so easily to any one of us if we take our eyes off the Scriptures and neglect to truly understand them amongst a community of believers.

But what I wanted to get to is that Satan is prowling around like a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8). Tammy – an impoverished artist – recently met a very wealthy man who is not a Christian and seems to be snapping her away. I have been struck by the importance of prayer and the Holy Spirit’s work – “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labour in vain” (Psalm 127:1).

This could be my most important ministry – to ask people to pray.

Recently I have started reading Killing Fields, Living Fields by Don Cormack about the church in Cambodia. The missionaries arrived in Cambodia the 1920s, after much prayer for the doors to open. Those prayers were being answered almost before the missionaries arrived. When the gospel began to be preached, people heard about the ‘white man’ telling stories on the market square. There was a hunger to walk miles to go and listen to him and many were converted. It can only be the Spirit’s work. In the West, or at least in my life, I write my prayer letter to supporters, not thinking that this could be my most important ministry – to ask people to pray.

Tammy is the second person I have ministered to who seems to be drifting due to a man coming into her life. I met up with another lady for at least three years. She met someone and drifted away. She came from an incredibly broken situation. She had four kids and there was a history of abuse in their family. Her kids used to mock her for coming to church.

Then a few weeks ago, the kids walked into church. They say she has gone mad, breaking things in the house and shouting at the dog at night. There is an impending court case, as her son had hit her boyfriend.

This again reminds me that prayer is what we need. So please do pray for these two ladies, for the Holy Spirit to make them yearn for Jesus and for the Holy Spirit to burn God’s word, which they have heard, into their hearts.