Missionary Poems


Missionary Perspective

Twenty years on deputation, or at least it seemed that way;
Telling o'er and o'er the calling, the same slide set every day.
Sunday morning in Chicago, Sunday evening in West Bend;
Wednesday evening up in Moline, traveling miles without end.

Hearing pastor after pastor say, "Our budget's chock-a-block;
There's no way we can support you, but we sure enjoyed your talk!"
As the weeks stretch into months and the months expand to years,
The candidate grows weary 'till he's had it to his ears.

Then the day at last comes dawning when he flies out to the field
With the deputation over, his career at last is sealed.
He's a brand new missionary, he's a member of the team;
But he finds that his new country isn't everything it seemed.

There's the funny sounding language that he doesn't understand;
And the housing that's assigned him isn't everything he planned.
Lo, his fellow missionaries are only human men;
And in his lonely moments, he thinks of home again.

No one told him 'bout these roaches that intimidate his wife,
And he isn't quite prepared for the national way of life.
The time concept of the country is a thing he can't relate -
When a national says "six-thirty", he means quarter after eight!

The crowds that press upon him are intolerable at best,
And the heat he isn't used to usually robs him of his rest.
The people that he used to think he loved with all his heart,
Are suddenly the folk who seem to tear his life apart.

When he goes to church on Sunday, he doesn't even know the songs;
And he thinks the nationals lack in knowing right from wrong.
The local pastor drinking wine, the deacon smokes a pipe—
Back home in Middle USA, we don't accept that type.

He must send a cheery letter to his supporters every month;
But he gets few answers from them, in most cases no, not once.
Nationals calling at odd hours make demands for many chores.
They do not return the favors but keep reaching out for more.

He can't stand the local menus, but can't buy the food he wants.
His kids don't like the schooling, and they are harassed by taunts.
There doesn't seem to be a thing within this new lifestyle
Like what he often dreamed of on the deputation miles.

The slide set showed the glamorous, the palm trees and the beach;
But it didn't show the prices so often out of reach.
So he's quickly disillusioned, and he feels it's very plain—
All those years on deputation have been very much in vain.

Now the funny thing about it is that just across the street
Lives another missionary who thinks the country's very neat.
He loves the people, loves the work, accepts it as it is—
The gloomy side of all these things is no concern of his.

The difference that there seems to be between these fellow men
Is the goal at which they're looking and not where they have been.
The one who is not satisfied and finds that he is bored
Is focusing upon the field — the other on the Lord.

So when you're on the mission field and things look very drear,
Remember there's a recipe to fill your heart with cheer.
Don't dwell upon the differences or the culture seeming wrong—
Get on your knees and pray to God and ask Him for a song.

And think of how God's only Son left Heaven up above,
Coming to a foreign culture to bring to man God's love.
And all of the frustration and the hardship you go through
Really cannot be compared with what He did for you!!
  —Author Unknown


A Poem (untitled)

Oh, give me, Lord, Thy love for souls,
  For lost and wand'ring sheep,
That I may see the multitudes
  And weep as Thou didst weep.

Help me to see the tragic plight
  Of souls far off in sin;
Help me to love, to pray, and go
  To bring the wand'ring in.

From off the altar of Thy heart
  Take Thou some flaming coals,
Then touch my life and give me, Lord,
  A heart that's hot for souls.

O Fire of Love, O Flame Divine,
  Make Thy abode in me;
Burn in my heart, burn evermore,
  Till I burn out for Thee.
  —by Eugene M. Harrison


Our Missionaries

They have journeyed far on a stormy tide
To the friendless shore and the strange hillside,
Where the wild winds sigh and the darkness creeps;
For their hearts are sad with a world that weeps,
And theirs is a love that never sleeps.

Where the stress is great and the battle long,
They strengthen their faith with psalm and song;
And if for guerdon they have defeat,
The hymns of their angels are forever sweet,
And they take their rest at the Master's feet.

God is the source of their secret strength,
They trust in Him, and they see at length
That morn is breaking after the night,
And the harvest fields are gold and white,
While shines around them God's fadeless light.

But who shall follow where they have led?
Who live and labor and love instead?
O hearts of youth, earth waits for you;
Be strong and brave, be firm and true.
Faithfully promise, and nobly do!
  —Marianne Farningham, pseud.

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