Martyrs and Missionaries

I met Karol Smith back in 1999 when I was making an exploratory trip to Belize, Central America in preparation for taking students to that part of the world. Karol and her husband, Larry, had been Youth with A Mission (YWAM) supervisors and have lived in Punta Gorda all their adult lives (some 30 years). They lived in a thatched hut. Larry delivered all their babies in their hut and they both speak fluent K’ctchi, the native tongue of the Maya. I got an e-mail from Karol this week in light of attacks they have been experiencing on their lives from some self-proclaimed witches in their village. Here is an excerpt from Karol’s e-mail to me

Since I was a baby Christian (1971) I felt like the Lord showed me that one day I would have the great honor of being a martyr for Him. It seemed very unlikely until the world started tipping over in the last few years. I didn’t doubt it, I just didn’t see how it would/could happen in the kinder world we all lived in. I will be honored to give my life (and death) for the Lord as a martyr. I tell Him a lot when I pray for protection.Lord, I don’t mind being persecuted or killed for You…

I am reminded by my friend’s e-mail that we have entered perilous times worldwide and that persecution of Christians is becoming the modus operandi today. Our lives could all change in a moment. Each morning when I wake up refreshed from a night’s sleep in my warm, cozy bed and see the sun and am able to walk my dogs anywhere I wish to go I am so very thankful. Suppose, however, I would be awaking in a concentration camp facing a day of hard labor feeling always the perpetual gnawing of hunger? I am to be thankful still.

So, while I am on this side of persecution, I must ready myself for anything. Today I am thankful for

#800 Karol and her fervent love of the Lord Jesus.

#801 the saints who have gone before me and stood in the face of martyrdom.

#802 the promises of Scripture that God will be with me in every circumstance, even the valley of the shadow of death.

#803 that He left us strict instructions on what to do about our enemies – love them.

#804 that I have seen movies like “The Hiding Place” and “To End All Wars” that give me modern living, breathing examples of how to endure such terrible persecution in Godly ways.

#805 that ordinary people like Peter, the fisherman; Karol, the wife and mother and grandmother; and Alex, the doctor stand in the face of persecution.

#806 that all the little obstacles and annoyances of everyday life are my training ground if I will only seize them for Kingdom growth.

#807 the fact that although I am one, I am among an army of thousands who will stand in the face of persecution.

#808 my fellow soldiers who understand the price and we won’t have to talk to one another about it, we will just know what we are to do because of the sweet Holy Spirit.

#809 His presence through it all.

With the multitudes this Monday,



12 comments on “Martyrs and Missionaries

  1. Oh my! We just dug out the old video of The Hiding Place last night and watched it! (Husband’s idea, because he’s been reading about that time.) And I just sat afterward for a while, thinking many of these same thoughts!

  2. Dear Sylvia,

    I think we are on the edge of such times again and it would do us well to prepare ourselves. I just went back to Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning again and plan to resurrect Dietrich Bonhoeffer to remind myself of some of the ways they endured. I would also like to read Andy Andrews’ book How to Kill 11 Million People.
    Bless you,

  3. I can remember being a kid, sitting through countless missionary conferences in my church, and shaking in my boots — hoping God would never call me to some angry jungle as a missionary. I remember Elisabeth Elliot’s books, The hiding place, and so many other biographies that I read and I always felt so weak as a Christian compared to these brave ones with so much faith. Yesterday, I was confronted with a passage in James about how we are to show mercy, and that one day God will show mercy to me measured and based on the amount of mercy I have shown here during my life. I don’t completely understand the verse . . . . yet. But I’m on a mission to find some answers to quiet my soul. But I went to bed and stared at the ceiling, wondering about whether I was a “merciful” person. I think of Betsy, Corrie TenBoom’s sister and what a merciful person she was. It is amazing how the Lord will bring back to mind instances (even what seemed insignificant at the time) when I was soooooo self-centered with No mercy whatsoever. Very soul searching.

    It takes a heart full of mercy to stand in the face of persecution and love your enemies and show mercy. If we listen to the news as it goes on and on and on about the killings at our embassy, all thoughts of love and mercy seem washed out to sea in the tidal wave of hatred, retribution, who’s to blame, etc., etc. I hate it!

    I loved your idea of reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer, etc. It’s been a long time since I read these and may have to dig a while to find them again. In fact, maybe it’s time to dig out all the biographies of those who gave everything with a heart full of mercy and love.

    I can only close my comment with a prayer that God will give me the same heart as your missionary friend! Such a timely post for me, Dawn! Thank you!

  4. My goodness, Cora, I was worried about you. Without you in the comment section my posts are barely half done. I have missed you, Dear Sister. You know the verse that says, “The Lord will restore the years the locusts have eaten.” (Joel 2:25) I have known you since your cancer crisis and you just drip love and mercy. I think He has given you a double-portion since that time in your life. You always speak mercifully to me and I know how others are blessed when they read your blog (when you write one, hint hint). You may have always been merciful and just don’t realize it, but I know you are now. I am a witness to it.

    Let’s do “the persecuted ones” together and see what we come up with for lessons in “mercy under trial” for the coming days when the world is upside-down. I find it interesting that God used Corrie, not Betsy to teach His love and mercy to the world. Betsy was a natural. Corrie learned by trial. Perhaps those of us who must learn the hard way are just as useful (Paul? Peter? David?) only in a different way. Something to ponder right before I leave for work today.

    I’m so thankful you surfaced,

  5. You have taken my breath away! I love Corrie Ten Boom! The impression her life has made on mine is eternal. And I love this heart of your friend…to give all for Jesus! I just spoke of suffering with my husband last night, and in a sense it is a great honor. Because those who suffer with Jesus will enter into “the fellowship of His sufferings.” An intimacy that is only experienced and can’t be understood apart from the heart. These are sweet, wise words. Thank you!

    • Dear Jacqui,

      Ah, Philippians 3:10, I hadn’t thought of that as I wrote this and put the pictures and video with the thoughts, but it is so appropriate. Thanks for coming and leaving your comment. It was a piece that was needed to make a precious point that had not yet been made. Blessings as you go out into your day!

  6. I am sittiing here crying my eyes out… as my dad used to say when my tears would flow as a little girl… get the bucket, let’s wash the floors!
    I loved the words you shared from Karol’s email and it just broke me… I know many others like her who daily offer the same prayer of thanksgiving to be His servant even if it be unto death. May God use all our lives for the sake of ‘His Kingdom come, His will be done…’ for the glory of His precious name, Jesus. How precious He is to us! Like Sylvia, I will be dragging out the ‘Hiding Place’ to watch. But first I am off to bring in the garden’s harvest… I was thinking yesterday as I dug up a long row of potatoes about how Corrie ten Boom shared that at the camp would eat potatoes dirty and raw as they dug( of course without trying to get caught)…
    Yes we are blessed to be in a form of free living. May it never make us complacent though, to know others suffer, and not be moved with compassion to help.
    See Dawn, how great a love God has placed in your heart… and how He has provided an open door for you to minister this great love that comes freely from His big Abba heart.’
    Thanks for sharing today my friend
    I am blessed to walk with you / loved 803 & 808 🙂 you are getting so close to 1,000!!!!

    • Dearest Susan,

      I feel like I am on holy ground here with all my sisters who who love Jesus with all their hearts reporting in. We’ve stood in awe of like-minded sisters who have gone before us (Mother Teresa, Corrie ten Boom, Joan of Arc, Heidi Baker) and now it just may be our turn. It seems we are ready! Hand in hand we will stand.

      I am almost to 1000. I hadn’t even thought about it! What do you know about that?
      Love you,

  7. I am humbled and blessed beyond words. thank you my friend for the affirmation.
    a couple of my favorite books are “Safely Home” by Randy Alcorn (wow) and The Heavenly Man (a true story, he tells how the Christians in China are trained for torture, imprisonment and death.” if you haven’t read them, i think this group of dear ladies would enjoy them.
    blessings of grace and love on you,

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