There was a time when the Wild West captured the imagination of a generation. To explore, pioneer, and to conquer! Knowingly forsaking lives of comfort and ease, they dreamt as those who dream, to believe for a better, broader future. What lay beyond that lazy giant called the Mississippi? Golden streets of desire wishing to be uncovered? Land, free to stake and take, calling for willing plowmen? Whatever it was, they knew the reward beyond the temporary trials of travel demolished any pain of separation from the easy eastern shores. Undaunted by what lie ahead on that less trodden trail, they pressed on for a greater future.
One might be tempted to reminisce upon the glory of those golden days, the determination of accountants made trappers, and the will power of a politician turned plowman. But what these men, women and children raged on for was not even the greatest, most daunting challenge of their time! They submitted themselves to an odyssey of suffering for what? A handmade cabin near a gentle running river? A small reward for so great a trial!
Surprisingly, the greatest challenge of their short time on earth remains the greatest challenge of our own swiftly fading generation. What challenge could that be?
The task of world evangelization in our generation.
While the vast majority of that bygone generation pressed on for a worldly reward, a small group of heavenly dreamers gave their all for something greater than fertile fields of crops. They gazed upon fields of souls made ready for the harvest. A sea apart from the apathy of America, a tongue foreign to their own and a far higher reward than that of wooden beams and golden caves drew them on. These were contrarians, aliens, and outcasts, those of whom America was not worthy. They longed not for the easy comforts of the eastern coastline nor for the treasures beyond the western divide, they dreamt of the sandy dunes of Mohammedan domains, of the skyscraping Himalayan peaks and their Buddhist inhabitants, and of the dangerous south Asian jungles and her unseen thousands. Goodbyes were more akin to eulogies; they knew they would likely die in their venture to reach the fields of souls. But still they left, most never again gracing America with their fine presence.
What they started we now continue, a pioneer’s journey into the wild wilderness of dying souls. Still, after hundreds of years, the bounty is great and the fields full. Perhaps you know of one or two precious saints who have left their father's house looking for a glory not their own in a nation whose name is hard to say. This isn't just about them, it's about you. You, simple you, with all your worries and uncertainties. Which story will you choose to be a part of? Will you be another casualty of the American Dream? Or will you find a different tale to throw yourself into – one of a King and His kingdom, a Husband and His bride, a Shepherd and His sheep, a Farmer and His fields. How you choose, and what story you decide to join, could forever change the destiny of families, villages, and people groups.
Do you long for something far more fulfilling than what is being offered you in the West? If so, I urge you to join us here in the harvest fields of souls. My feet stand on the soil of those foreign lands and I tell you, it’s worth it.
"But don't you hear the Wild? - it's calling you.
Let us probe the silent places, let us see what luck betide us;
Let us journey to a lonely land I know.
There's a whisper on the night-wind, there's a star agleam to guide us,
And the Wild is calling, calling ... let us go."
- Robert William Service