I have a tremendous amount of respect for people who devote their lives to full time pursuit of God’s work. In particular, I have great respect for those who give up their familiar surroundings and comfortable lives to follow God’s calling into the mission field. My greatest respect of all is for those whose calling leads them into perilous areas where their lives are in constant danger.
A young lady I place in this last category is leaving in less than two weeks to live and work in one of the most dangerous places on earth—the Middle East. To protect her privacy, I’ll call her Ruth, after one of the most important women in the Bible.
Ruth was raised by missionaries in a country that is overwhelmingly Muslim, so she’s been around Muslims all her life. Given that, I suppose it’s not at all surprising that God would call her to a Muslim country for her own mission work, but the specific area He called her to seems like a stretch to me.
I’ve known Ruth for five or six years now. Her mother spoke to our Sunday School class when I first joined, some 17 or 18 years ago. When Ruth graduated from college a few years ago and answered her own call to the mission field, I immediately became one of her regular supporters, both in prayer and financially. Through the years, I’ve become almost a cheerleader for this young lady.
She is now with her third mission organization, and she has spent a good bit of time doing mission work in Muslim countries in the past, but it’s different this time. God has put a love for the Kurdish people on Ruth’s heart, and that’s where He has led her to go.
The Kurds occupy portions of Turkey, Iraq, and Iran. Fiercely independent, they never knuckled under to Saddam Hussein when he was in power, nor have they bowed to any other would-be conquerors. This makes them mortal enemies of ISIS. As a friend and missionary to the Kurds, Ruth puts herself in the position of being a mortal enemy of ISIS also, although she personally bears them no malice.
We’ve all heard the stories of how ISIS kidnaps women to be used and/or sold as slaves—most likely as sex slaves. Any woman they come across is in danger, but Ruth is a pretty, slender, petite young woman that any ISIS member would probably salivate over.
When I met Ruth for breakfast recently, I told her of my fears for her safety in light of this proclivity of ISIS, and she assured me she is aware of the danger. She thanked me for my concern, but her attitude is that if God calls, her place is not to question, but to go. Period. I love and admire that about her. She is a much stronger and braver person than I am, and my hat is off to her. I can’t think of anyone alive today for whom I have more respect. I thank God for her and pray that He will keep her safe.
If you abide in Me and My word abides in you, then you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.
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