by Ben & Marianne Janssen
Although we are living right now in a world of rapid change and in a world of people running to and fro, there is still time to present Christ to the last people groups that have never heard of Him. In the time of the Roman Empire, when the Gospel was fervently preached all over the then known world, our God in His sovereign grace had orchestrated the construction of the Roman road network of perfectly laid cobblestone roads all over the empire. This was never seen before, but it came exactly at the time when the Good News had to be spread by the apostles and their disciples throughout Asia and Europe.
Now we enter a crucial time in the Kingdom of our Lord where the last push is directed toward the hard to reach ethnic groups in dangerous places. Again, in His sovereign grace, God has opened up for us the avenue of reaching them. Now the barriers of distance are gone. Modern technology has made it possible to reach the ends of the earth in a day. What is there to stop us from following Him?
It is now almost twenty years ago that we jumped headlong into missions. I can remember the first night on the mission field when we left Vienna together with our youngest daughter, who was thirteen at the time. We boarded the train to the Ukraine at midnight and I knew right away that it would be a difficult night. First of all, the rail officials split our family in two, and I ended up with Joanna in a compartment full of South American tourists. They were a mixed company, which made me afraid for the well-being of our daughter. They were loud and boisterous all night, not willing to open one little window in the stuffy compartment all the while eating spicy chips. I honestly tried to love them, but it was extremely hard! I lay down on the narrow cot, but stayed awake all that long night and kept my eyes open to watch Joanna. I was nearly in tears when the daylight broke and I asked God, “Is this what I have to endure all the time as a missionary?” I am happy to say it was not like that all the time, but there were many days that I had to pray fervently to keep ourselves focused on the work at hand.
After twenty years following our Lord in the mission work, now on three continents, I can testify that He has never left us or forsaken us. He has always directed and guided us. He will give us the courage and faith to continue till He comes! Will there be another twenty years to follow Him to the ends of the earth? I do not think so…. “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that He is near, at the very gates.” (Matthew 24:32-33)
In His service,