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Insulated on the mission field far away from Me-ville.


It's not just a little jump from Texas to Croatia. We're not just right around the corner. Texas and Croatia are 5,588 miles apart. Hey that's a long way! We're not talking about a few miles, it takes 9 hours on a plane to get here from the Lone Star State. Once you step off that plane you're in a whole new world. Croatia isn't just another country it's another world. As life begins new here the memories and activities of life in the good 'ol USA are slowly forgotten.

One interesting fact that kinda slapped me in the face our first year in Croatia was that life in the states and at our home church kept on going despite our absence. Church didn't just stop because we were gone, instead it continued to go and grow and kept having victories and defeats along the way. 

Our first furlough we were in total shock at how  much things had changed in just a few short years. I mean people looked different, buildings had changed, couples had been united and some torn apart. The "friends" we had known had forgotten we existed and life in general was totally different. Somehow it moved faster, people jolted from here to there and back again and never came up for air. Another interesting fact was that the fashion in church had changed. It had become much more laid back. Men had started to drop their ties on Wednesdays and flip flops in church were everywhere. I was also in shock that the length of skirts had risen a bit, not to major but a bit. Life had made a major change in just a few years. 

We returned to the field and closed our little box to the rest of the world until our next furlough. Shock!!! I was literally in shock at the change in America. Churches had changed, some completely. I remember the lack of excitement and the overwhelming sense that the church was all about "us" and forget those in the highways and bi-ways. Many churches we visited had decided to drop their bus programs, those we the most dead. The didn't have time for the children and it seemed the Holy Spirit didn't have time to visit their services. 

Our next furlough we took a little early due to financial woes from the whopping Euro but it didn't make the change any different. This time we noticed more than outward appearance which had drastically changed to knee length skirts (knee length if they were standing but sitting was a different story altogether), leggings and long shirts, and the Miami Vice mock turtle neck and blazer of once tie wearers. Something else had changed, the people were different. Those who once had an excellent spirit were very self consumed. Men had become pretty somehow and in more ways than just appearance. Neck lines had plunged and so had attitudes. The the hardest thing was to realize how man had "gone away". People who had stood and preached the cause were now eloping to the new movement of happy church. They weren't only throwing away standards but their beliefs had some how changed. The old faith that was enough to save them was now some how inadequate to save anyone born after 1985.

Through out all these furloughs I noticed a thread of unity in thought; "Life's too short." This wasn't the good kinda "Life's too short.", the kind that says, "The day is short and we must be busy about the Father's business.", no this was a "Life's too short, I'm gonna get the most out of it that I can even if it means letting some really important things go." 
It's been a heartbreak to see so many fall by the wayside. Not deep into sin but way deeper into compromise of right than any Christian should ever even think about going. 

Sadly I've been mistaken about the insulation of the mission field. As it's worked for us it's failed many other missionaries. I have watched as many have somehow caught the "Life's too short." bug and have also fallen by the wayside. 

Something very real and very scary is happening all through our IFBaptist churches. We need to all wake up and take a look around and all of the "Me thinking" going on. Hey there is only one of ME and there are billions of THEM, we're spending way too much time of the ME and not enough on the THEM.

Sometimes we've been called stubborn or hardheaded. PRAISE THE LORD! That stubbornness has kept us firmly planted in the OLD WAYS and we're not moving. My real concern is my children that are getting ready to join the ME life in America. They're getting ready to go off to college and when they do??? I feel like I'm sending them into Sodom somehow and there isn't anything I can do about it. Once they're gone they are gone. Outside of my protection and amidst a world of compromise.

I praise the Lord for the insulation of the mission field but I fear that the walls are breaking down as we speak.

I wonder what will be in 10 years. What will be left for our children. Will the old paths be long forgotten? 
God forbid! We have to stand rigid and unyielding! 1 small step in the wrong direction can be the one that sends us over to ME-ville.
If anything this post has been a warning for me. We are for sure in the last days and if we ever needed to stand we need to stand now.

10 comments:

  1. Now's the time to pray Tori (not that we haven't been so far) but REALLY pray for our children and pray that all we've taught them will be remembered and put into practice. And of course that God will protect them.

    And of the flip side...I've met a few missionaries that lived in me-ville too....sad, but true.

    They got so wrapped up with folks 'back home' not treating them right and not considering "their needs" that everything was about them.

    Ignorance in my opinion, is the major blame for the lack of interest in foreign missions.....folks just don't know, don't understand the other billions of people. It's all....well...'foreign' to them.

    Just yesterday I had a conversation with a Portuguese lady. I've been on the field for 2 years. And to think back now, I see how very wasteful I was while living in the States. I was a pastors wife of a small church who could only give a small salary. I didn't think I wasted anything, but I did...and it became apparent after only a short time on the field....Portugal is another world, like you described Croatia. I had no idea...didn't realize I was that way until life changed for me......I'm afraid the the "church folks" back home just are ignorant...have not been confronted with life outside their country...probably even their little town. They can't imagine driving for hundreds of mile (kilometers for us!) without seeing a baptist church.

    When I think that they just don't know better, it helps me to pray for them and to keep the right spirit about me.
    Because I am sure, around the corner, God will show me another area that I've been ignorant towards....and He will reveal a tad bit more to me....trust me with a little more. I pray that I respond positively to that challenge, as I hope the 'church folks' back home respond positively to the challenge of sharing the gospel with the other billions when God reveals it to them.

    God Bless America!

    Great, thought provoking post!

    Have a nice weekend!

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  2. I needed this article this morning. Our Independent Baptist churches are in a very sad state. I can't tell you how many families I can mention are in total chaos at home, but seem like everything is okay at church. How can God bless our churches when our families are dying? Here in America it is very easy to get stuck in Me-ville! I find myself there sometimes. I've been praying that God will remind me of what I need to focus on, and to renew the joy of my salvation, but me rears its ugly head! I'm joining with you praying for our churches. It can get very discouraging!

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  3. Hey Tori,

    GREAT thoughts! AMERICA is changing for the worse by the second. We DO need to wake up!! Can't wait to join you, Kevin should be calling soon with our date!!! (:

    Love you guys,

    Kristina

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  4. AMEN Tori!!!!!

    In the area that I live we have seen many IFB church's go way down, and I know of at least 3 church's that have lost their Pastor. Only one of them was due to health related issues.

    I am so thankful for my church and for our Pastor. He takes a stand and preaches the Word uncompromised! He still sees the importance of preaching about dress and he does at least a few times a year. I am so very thankful for that.

    I know that we all tend to get lax and I have seen how easy it is to stray. Being a mom of 4 girls I absolutely see the importance of modesty and I LOVE that I have a safe haven in our church where everyone believes that too.

    Praying for your family
    ~Amy

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  5. You hit the nail right on the head with this post Tori.
    Even living in America it is amazing how much things are changing in Independent Baptist churches today. Standards of dress separation for ladies has died in a lot of them or has changed to match the dress of the world.
    As a wife and mother to a beautiful little girl I am so thankful that I am able to sew modest clothes for her because the clothes that stores sell today for little girls are so immodest.

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  6. Hi Tori, thanks for pointing out the bad link that I had up -- I apologize for it. I've taken it down now. I'd hestitated about even posting about that story -- it's so sad and ridiculous. But it does say a lot about our society. D

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  7. Good post & interesting how you've seen things decline. Here too -- although I think that we're having a bit (little bit) of modesty thing going on especially with the Christian young girls, which is exciting to see. They're still "in style" but are into layering and being "themselves" rather than the herd mentality. Our daughters have modesty books and Deena (?) Gresh wrote them and made it seem noble (as scripture says). It's a neat movement. We all need to be reminded of it daily and be on guard for it (immodesty). My own daughters have called me on it a few times, and I'm glad they have.
    D

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  8. Excellent post Tori! It is down right scarey the downward spiral the churches are taking along with the world. If we don't take a stand and not just stand but run the old paths continually, they will become overgrown with weeds and eventually not even be seen. Our family wants to stick by the old paths. I'm glad I have blogger friends around the world now who agree! Keep up the good fight - for it is not in vain! Have a great day in your services tomorrow.

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  9. Well what else can you say? We must renew our soul winning efforts! I must be bolder in my witness. We must replace the shock of it all with work and make a difference while we can. I am thankful for all of those who have hung in there when it didn't feel like they were making a difference. Then those coming behind will have a modern day example of true Christianity. May God have mercy on our nation!

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  10. I really needed to read this...these are very scary times and we need to stay away from that slippery slope of compromise. Hope you are well!!! ((hug))

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