AFM missionaries are trained in the art and science of contextualizing—introducing new truths and unseen realities to people in a different cultural context where these concepts are unknown. Missionaries expect to contextualize the gospel for the hearts and minds of their unreached people, but they often feel less prepared to contextualize truth about the mission field so that readers of Adventist Frontiers can wrap their minds around it. Over the years, a number of missionaries have expressed this frustration to me. As one said, “I have a folder full of articles I wrote and then filed away. Most readers wouldn’t believe what really happens here.”
The spiritual realities of the mission field are often the hardest things for Western minds to grasp. How can our missionaries communicate what it is really like to see demonic manifestations in everyday life (p. 32), to have demons attack your family half a world away to discourage you in your work (p. 46), or to spend day and night for weeks on end guarding, fasting, praying and singing over a violently possessed young girl (p. 40)? These are things that are difficult to communicate in our sanitized, secularized Western context (though these realities are a growing problem in the West as well).
As we begin 2018 together, let us open our eyes to the concrete reality of the spiritual war raging far away on the mission frontiers and here at home all around us. Pray for our missionaries as they battle hand-to-hand, and dedicate yourself to God’s side in the battles you must face.