Sending missionaries to the unreached is expensive. Let’s not beat around the bush. When the goal is to establish an enduring and expanding gospel beachhead in an unentered region that offers no local workers or church infrastructure to help shoulder the load, the cost is guaranteed to be significant.
This month, two articles delve into the topic of AFM missionary funding (see pages 6 and 8). Though they may not be as riveting as our missionary stories, I invite you to read these two nuts-and-bolts articles so that you can wisely count the cost of being an AFM supporter.
As I was thinking about wisely counting the cost of reaching the unreached, three stories came to my mind. But rather than highlighting thrift and sensibility, these stories seemed to me like extravagant, lavish, unaccountable, over-the-top outpourings of blood and treasure.
The first was the recent rescue in Thailand of 12 boys and their soccer coach from the depths of a flooded cave. Do you remember how that viral story galvanized international media and drew rescue professionals from around the world? Wondering how many dollars it cost to put together that herculean effort, I scoured the Internet. What did I find? Other than some vague guesses in the multi-millions, I found no information at all. What? No one kept a budget for rescuing those 13 souls? No one put together a cost/benefit analysis? Was this some kind of irresponsible lunacy? Why would those divers risk their lives to swim into that sunless cave? Why would the world spent so much treasure to rescue a few lost people?
The other two baffling stories I thought of are found on pages 15 and 46 of this magazine. Get a load of this: Two young families, the Rivers and the Whites—families with children, mind you—have become gripped by the notion that they should pour out the treasure of their own comfort, career opportunities, security, friendships, family support and thriving local ministry to push deep into a black, flooded cave with dangers on every side to bring rescuing Sonlight to a people group that no one else can reach. Why are they spending so much treasure to rescue a few lost people?
May God illuminate your reading.