Missionary life is, in a word, difficult.
It’s not necessarily troublesome because we sold everything that offered us stability and a life in America. That’s scary, sure, especially when the time comes for us to move back. We’ll have to find a way to start over from scratch, but that’s a problem for another day, and one that can be solved fairly simply. The Lord owns the cattle on a thousand hills, I have no doubt that when He calls us back to the States he’ll provide for our needs there.
Missionary life is not problematic because we moved thousands of miles away from everything and everyone we know and love. Ten years ago, that might have been a legit consideration, but thanks to technology and the Internet, we can talk to our family and friends every single day for free, if we like. And, we have made some beautifully dear friends here in Scotland, and leaving them now, or in the foreseeable future, would absolutely break our hearts.
Missionary life is not particularly arduous because we’ve had to learn and adapt to a new culture, new foods, new ways of doing things, a new language, new government structures, etc. To be honest with you, we positively love, love, love living here. A small town isn’t for everyone, but it is for us. A small church isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it is ours. A mature congregation isn’t often the target audience pastors and church planters set their sites on, but we serve here with gladness. We’re living out God’s purpose for our lives here, and you’re a part of that.
What makes missionary life so wearisome are unmet expectations in why we came here to begin with. As you know, we came here three years ago to help usher in revival. To reinvigorate the Church in Buckie – not just the Church of Christ, but the Church in general. We came to teach, preach, disciple, and proclaim who Jesus is and what he’s done for the human race. We’re here to help people understand the greater purpose for their lives, and to bring hope, help, and restoration to broken and hurting hearts and families. We came to see the Gospel transform a community in rapid decline. We came to help others who are on the same journey. We came to see Jesus move in mighty and undeniable ways…..and we’re still waiting.
We haven’t been resting on our laurels; hoping, praying, or believing that all we needed to do was show up and God would show out. We’ve been busy – praying, fasting, searching, working, and listening for the Lord to direct our path here, and He has.
We haven’t been frequently distracted by worries over money. When you live 100% on the generosity and faithfulness of others, money worries can easily overwhelm and terrify you. But the Lord has graciously given us absolutely amazing partners – that’s YOU! Because of your devotion to the work of the Gospel here in Scotland we have been able to share Jesus with more people than we can count.
When we moved here in 2017, I purchased a dozen NLT bibles to give away, and it took us two years to give all of them out. This past Christmas, we made an appeal for fund to purchase another dozen NLT bibles to be given out during our Christmas in Narnia events, and praise be to the Lord, y’all responded in a big way. In case you haven’t already heard, we gave out SIX of those bibles to new Believers in less than six weeks!! We’re planning to have a baptism service sometime in March to celebrate the decisions that have been made for Him because YOU helped us give away a Bible.
When we arrived at the Buckie Church of Christ in July, 2017, Sunday morning attendances fluctuated between 8 and 14 people, depending on what week of the month it was. On January 5, 2020 we had 30 people attending, with 10 folks out (traveling, working, or ill). In 2017, there were ZERO families with children coming to the church. Today, we have 6 kids who attend regularly with their families, and I can say with joy that their singing, laughing, and rustling sounds are breathing new life back into the dried out bones of the Church.
Yes, God is absolutely, positively, undeniably moving here! But it looks a whole lot different than revival does in America. And it certainly looks a whole lot different than what we imagined or expected. The Church here is decimated, numerically but also spiritually. The State Churches are so liberally minded and politically tied that they have become a roadblock to evangelical Christianity. State churches and many of the mainstream denominational churches hold the tenants of their denomination above the authority of Scripture; and where the two disagree these churches opt to uphold and proclaim their denominational creed over Biblical mandates.
There are pastors all over the country (including our wee village!) that openly deny the authority and inerrancy of the Scripture. They stand in their pulpits and preach a social gospel that feeds people’s egos and idols, but does not call for true repentance of sin, righteousness in living, or accountability to God’s authority as Lord and Saviour of their lives. These are good men and women, who love people and have a genuine desire to help others, but they are paving a path to hell that is being gladly followed by millions!
In this country, the Gospel is under direct attack from both that government and the State church. Traditional family values are under attack. The Bible has been disregarded and deliberately tossed in the rubbish bin in favor of political correctness, a false sense of tolerance, and whatever ‘gospel’ is being preached by the deepest wallet. Christians are being told by the government that we cannot call sin, sin. We cannot tell people their lives are a mess because they are living outside of God’s will for them. We cannot tell them that Jesus loves them and died for them. And that’s not just outside of our own walls….the government is now regulating what we say INSIDE our churches.
This week alone, the Scottish and English parliament’s have revoked Franklin Graham’s speaking tour of the UK; siting his views on traditional family values and same sex marriage as hate speech, which flies in the face of the political and social agenda of the UK. The Destiny Church movement in Scotland, offered their buildings as open venues for Franklin Graham to come and speak in, and the town councils where those churches are located have (at the behest of Parliament) issued immediate eviction notices to the Destiny Churches who are meeting in rented buildings within those communities. You see, Jesus and the Gospel are under direct attack here in Scotland and the UK. Christians are being openly persecuted for holding Biblical views and morals.
Recently, we announced on Facebook that Chick-fil-A had opened a restaurant in Aviemore, Scotland, despite having to close their location in England because of the LGBTQ uproar. The owner of the resort where the restaurant was opened has claimed to be a Christian and was prepared to take the heat because his customers had been so pleased with the service and quality to that point. I am sad to report, that restaurant has now closed down after being open less than 6 months because the political pressure the Scottish Parliament and their affiliates put on that business owner; simply because Chick-fil-A stands for traditional family values and support Christian based programs and initiatives. Satan is hard at work in the UK, using whatever means necessary to thwart the message and hope that is brought through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Christians feel they no longer have a voice as these types of attacks build in momentum and frequency. The Church is discouraged. Evangelical pastors are tired and disillusioned. Satan believes he can smell the stench of defeat in the air and is gathering his forces for a mighty ambush, set to inflict a fatal blow.
What can we do if its this bad already? We wait. We watch. We pray. And we stay focused on the certainty of the task the Lord has set before us – to go into all the world, teaching and proclaiming the Gospel, making disciples, and baptizing in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, because only He can bring the gift of new life.
Because of the finished work of Jesus on the cross and the resurrection power that raised him triumphantly from the grave, Satan is an eternally defeated foe, and he knows it. But that fact does not stop me (and you) from conceeding defeat in our personal lives to the Enemy. When we become so focused on our own discouragments, unmet expectations, disappointments, and the skirmishes around us we deny the Lord’s power and provision that, “greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world.” As Christ followers, the Lord did not call us to wallow in the hard, but he, through Jesus Christ, has given us the authority and power to boldly proclaim the Gospel until he returns again, despite the hard.
So yeah, revival is coming. Will it be easy? Definitely not. Will I see it in my lifetime? Maybe…maybe not. Am I allowed to get discouraged? Sure, for a minute or two. But then, I embrace the difficulties that come with being a Christ follower and I put my armour back on and join the battle again. What about you?
~ Brittan ~