Yesterday, many of us were at the airport to see the Thiry’s off to Tenerife. After helping them process 12 checked bags, car seats, a stroller, and 5 carry-ons, we gathered together for a short time of prayer and then said our good-bye’s. It was in all senses of the word “bittersweet.” It was sweet in that we had the great privilege of sending a family to the mission field to work with a team of church planters to proclaim the Gospel, establish the church, and equip the saints. It was bitter in that we had to say goodbye to a dear couple we all have loved deeply and the abundance of tears was indicative of how difficult it was to see them go.
I was reminded of a similar situation with the apostle Paul in Acts 20:25-38 when he had to leave his beloved Ephesians. The text says they did a number of things as they sent Paul on his missionary journey, knowing they would not see him again: they knelt down, they prayed, they wept aloud, they embraced, they grieved. Why such a response? Because their hearts were knit with his. Their passions were his passions. He had become dear to them and they had become dear to him.
As difficult as these tearful departures are, I believe they are indicative of a healthy church and ministry. As much as I didn’t want to see the Thiry’s leave our MBC family, I am excited that our church gets to invest in world missions and global church planting. This is an investment in eternity and one that, Lord willing, will bear much fruit. I believe it will be fruitful to our church as we get to partner with the Thiry’s in their ministry and assist them in proclaiming the Gospel in a predominantly Catholic context. I am excited to see how the Lord is going to bless Maranatha as a result of our willingness to send and invest in this family. I also pray that we have many more “tearful departures” as we invest in believers here whom the Lord will equip and call to full time service.
On a personal note, thank you for your care for the Thiry’s and for your willingness to support them financially, relationally, and prayerfully. It is a joy to be part of a family of believers that is eternally minded and storing up treasures in heaven!