In This Issue...
- A Theology of Humor by Cheryl Taylor
- Ministering With Humor by Stephanie Nance
- Christian Leaders Having Fun? by Pam Morton with Kathy Jingling
- The Health Benefits of Humor and Laughter by Dwenda Gjerdingen, MD, MS
Women in Ministry Mobilized E-Newsletter Articles
WIM - Subcriber Articles
Thu, 30 Jun 2011 - 1:24 PM CST
By Myra Crane
I grew up on music of the Gaithers. My missionary dad had outfitted our Speed the Light vehicle with an eight-track tape deck, and I was sure that Bill and Gloria lived inside it. They sang their limited repertoire over and over again, whether our trip was the short jaunt to the post office or one of the longer ones that took us to churches or outstations in other towns and villages. My parents, my brother, and I would sing along every time they sang, no matter how many times they repeated the song cycle our single Gaither cassette predestined for them. I hear us like it was yesterday: "Get all excited, Go tell everybody that, Jesus, Christ is King. I said ‘Get all excited, Go tell everybody that ...."
Truly, our family lived for telling others about Jesus. Even when we weren't thinking about it as such, it happened. Our ministry context was unrestricted and vibrant. Many people came to Christ. I remember my dad calling it "missionary heaven."
Fast forward from the mid 1970s to 1995. I'm grown up, married, and my pastor-husband and I have three children. Sharing Christ drives everything we do. By now, we have seen scores of people follow Christ openly for the first time, and we've watched many of them draw others to Christ as well. Ministry has been quite exciting until now.
Now I find myself far from any success, in a very restricted country where sharing my faith is cumbersomely complex. Literally no one around me has had an adequate gospel witness, but if I share my faith with the wrong person or in the wrong way, I might compromise everything we have come to do. The situation is so sensitive that we are careful about what we say even in our own home. We know our phone is tapped, and the neighbors are watching our every move. We are infidels in a place where conversion is a crime punishable by death. The veil I wear to respect the values of my host country is beginning to asphyxiate my sense of purpose in this stifling place.
On one particular afternoon, I feel empty and sad. I need some comforting, so I pull a Gaither video from a secluded shelf and decide to indulge. I'm longing for a sense of what got me where I am, and I know that an old-time dose of the Gaithers will at least give me a peek into what used to be.
I close all our drapes and stuff the designated rags up gas pipes so our neighbors in the flat above us don't suspect I'm a flagrant (desperate) follower of Christ. I scoot our oversized rattan chair across the living room's smooth marble floor and park it squarely in front of the TV set. I pop the video into our multisystem player, curl my feet up under me as I plunge into the chair's cushions, and I wait.
The Gaithers fade into my living room, and I can't believe what they are singing! "It is no secret what God can do. With arms wide open, He'll pardon you. It is no secret ...."
I gasp, choke, and restrain my pugilistic impulse to pound hard on whatever is around me, and I listen some more. I melt. In the midst of this incredible, paradoxical moment, my tears flow, and I begin to sing along. I visualize God's arms wide open, inviting the millions who have never heard His story to complete pardon and full life in Him.
I sing till the song ends, then I rewind the tape to sing it again, and again, and again, louder and louder till I'm hoarse from my voluminous wails and song. I uncurl my legs and put my feet on the cool floor, refreshed and revitalized for the telling of the story that got me here. I understand it now. No matter what the hindrance, it's a story that can't be silenced, and God has privileged me to somehow be its venue in a place where it has scarcely been heard till now.
This is pure exhilaration! "Missionary heaven."
Myra Crane (pseudonym) and her husband serve the Eurasia region.