Foreign Lands: Day 2
As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him—you, also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house…
I Peter 1:2
Though decades ago, that time has given us a deep appreciation of those who choose to spend their life on the foreign mission field. This past summer, however, something (actually, someone) happened that rekindled in us the lessons learned from that time in our life.
We met them through friends in our home fellowship group. Because their names are tricky, but also because they work among Muslims, I will refer to them as Joe and Mary Orlov. Both Joe and Mary were raised under atheistic communism in an Eastern European country. Mary, however, had a Muslim grand-mother who taught her about Allah and, because of her tender conscience, Mary grew up with a great burden to please Allah and to avoid his punishment.
When the Iron Curtain fell in the late 90’s, and Christian missionaries poured in with Bibles and the gospel, both Joe and Mary, then in their late teens, heard--for the first time in their lives--about a God of love and forgiveness. They each accepted Christ as their Savior and began attending a Bible study at their university. This is where they met, married and dedicated their lives to missionary service.
In the intervening years, they have raised up house churches filled with joyous believers amid a culture of atheism, communism and a growing danger from an increasingly militant Islam. Recently, they have left the missions agency they had with been with since college and are in the process of moving to Great Britain to work with the Muslim refugees who are pouring into that part of the world.
A few years ago, the Orlovs brought their family to the United States so that Joe could pursue a master’s degree at a well-known seminary in the United States. I remarked to Joe that they were truly citizens of the world and he did not disagree.
Joe and Mary are some of the loveliest people you will ever meet and, though their history is very different from that of the American missionaries we knew so many years ago, our former pastor’s words could not be more fitting. “God sends His best to the mission field.”