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Feb 11, 2016

...If you faint not

I was always a kid who made due with whatever life threw my way. Growing up in poverty in a drug-dealer's home made circumstances sometimes unpredictable. While my Daddy made many mistakes he loved me and did his best to protect me. There were many days without electricity or water and getting ready for school was impossible a real feat. I learned to do much with very little. I learned to endure. To take whatever the day brought and deal with it, struggle through, and move on. While many people would pity my childhood, I don't.

I'm the sorta gal that realizes what has to be done and if I don't like it I make myself like it, if that makes any sense at all. Growing up I always wanted to have one child and I was going to spoil that child. When I married Johnny he informed me that he wanted 7 children, WHAT?. I was in shock but I soon decided that if this was what had to happen I was going to make it my desire also. Before long I dreamed of having a home full of little children calling me Mama Mother Dearest.

Not in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would one day be a preacher's wife much less a missionary to a foreign land. When I stop and think about where He brought me from and where He took me to I stand amazed. Here I am, a little dirty girl from the wrong side of the tracks, literally and my life amazes me.
I have no complaints about life at all. I don't feel as if I have missed out on something or that there is something I deserve which I don't have. I have no complaints! God has been so good, giving me more than I deserve while giving me less than I deserve. He amazes me.

In 2000 when we arrived in Croatia with our 3 little children in tow we had no idea what to expect. There were no American friends waiting on us, no one to explain life to us, it was just us and the dear Croatian people God sent us to. That first year was an experience of grace. I felt loneliness like I had never felt before. I watched the children cry for their grandparents and just as I had been trained so many years before I sucked it up, dealt with it and moved on. This was God's will for our life, and I knew that so I was going to make the best of it. I decided to make myself love this place.

Here I sit in my living room thinking to myself, I love this place. I love the house God has given us, I love the church I go to, I love the people I work with, I love the Croatian people as if they were my people, I love the little Gypsy children who run to me at the children's meetings and give me hugs, I love the weather here, I love the food and especially the desserts, I love being needed and loved, I love the joy I get from living for someone else, I love my dog, I love having coffee with friends in the square, I love the will of God for me.

Hey it's a long road. I know if I had given up, I would have never reached this place in my life. If I hadn't purposed in my heart to love the will of God I would be unsatisfied, unfulfilled and who knows where we would be now. I had to consciously decided to love the will of God for my life. I remember fighting negative feelings and having to tell myself that I wouldn't allow it. I didn't allow my self to ask, "what if?" I refused to even entertain the idea that there was something else. I knew His will for me and I decided to accept it and make the best of it. Now...after all all these years His will is truly my delight. I wouldn't want to live anywhere else. I wouldn't want to leave these people or this place. I wouldn't want to be anyone else, my life is a picture of God's foreknowledge and a little stick-to-it-tive-ness, as my Preacher would say. If we had decided it was too hard, or entertained ideas about what it would be like somewhere else we would have never made it to this place. This place of contentment.

God is so good to have a will for each of us, the problem is that we faint long before we arrive at that perfect will. It's not too difficult to be in the geographic will of God but it takes time to love being there. I see so many missionaries and young people these days who make decisions for God and never carry through. Or they arrive at His will and don't have the endurance or character to stick it out. Anything worth having takes work and sacrifice. If you will ever make it to that place of rest within His will you have to struggle through the tough times and there will be many. Life is hard, it throws stuff at us that we could never prepare for. It is hard, it will be hard. STICK IT OUT!! We will reap if we faint not but we have to endure. It makes me sad and ashamed that so many missionaries and pastors fall by the wayside daily. It's an epidemic. We have become soft and we faint too easily. The statistics for IFB missionaries as as follows:

1,000 American Missionaries return home each year

75% of missionaries return home within the first three years and never go back to a foreign field

43% of missionaries never complete deputation

These statistics are staggering! Are you kidding? Missionaries start deputation, travel and accept money for years sometimes and then just decide it's too difficult. For real? That's dishonest! Some go to the field stay 2 years, come home knowing they will never return and then travel for a year accepting money from churches knowing they'll never return. It's a shame and it's dishonest! 

What ever the missionaries and workers of the past had, we need it! We need to figure out how to find the strength to stay, to endure if we will ever make it to His perfect will for our lives. How many thousands have gone unsaved because a Christian quit and didn't endure? 

Over the last 15 years we have seen more missionaries go then we have seen come. We are a shrinking population and as Christians we need to wake up, buck up, stand up or grow up, which ever is needed. 

This has been on my heart for so long. I don't like heavy blog posts but maybe just maybe someone is struggling to hang on. Contemplating quitting. Imagining brighter pastures. DON'T! 
Decide that His will is going to become your delight and put the time into it that it'll take and one'll find that perfect will and delight in it.

And let us not be weary in well doing: for indue season we shall reap, if we faint not. Gal 6:9

Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Psalm 37:4

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. Heb 13:5


  1. I have a comment, but decided against it, as it seemed rather judgemental and critical on my part.
    There is so much to be gained by learning to stick it out! I told my son the other day that we don't run away from a situation or calling. We always run toward a calling. We only leave if God has supernaturally showed us that that is what he wants us to do. Otherwise, as my Mama would say, " Scratch and get glad!". "Bloom where you are planted". How much lost when we give up!

  2. Great post! This is so good. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Anonymous11:20 AM

    This is a very encouraging post. The statistics are sad for sure.
    God bless and keep you ♥

  4. Beautiful post, Tori!! All the way through the post I kept thinking of that verse about God giving us the desires of our heart. Most of the time, the desires in our heart are those that He put there. My hat is off to you who live far away from home and make where you live "home". My grand daughter has a heart for missions and has made several short term missions trips. She is going to Africa this summer. Have a blessed day.

  5. Anonymous1:41 PM

    After only 13 months on the field, we left. I struggle daily with that decision now. I have no peace as far as ministry goes. Its missions emphasis now at our church, and I can barely make it through a missionary presentation. I couldnt handle the loneliness, the constant bickering and fighting within our church, watching my husband get bashed, and seeing my kids cry for friends and family back home. I wasnt strong emotionally for any of that and ultimately we never made it to that perfect will of God. We are where we are now, and I think about the people we left, though they hated us, I loved them. Its a battle, a war and the devil is tough, but God is stronger. Not that I didnt believe that then, but you can definitely get focused on all thats wrong. You are so right Tori. It was hard to read this, and not weep. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Oh, Tori, you have written such a powerful post! Making up your mind to love the Father's will - THAT is the secret of contentment. You are so right! Thanks so much for sharing your story with us. I have total respect for you, and I will be praying that God blesses your ministry even more.

  7. Tori, what a beautiful and encouraging post. It makes me love you even more to know what you have risen above with God's help. My husband and I have often had the same conversation about modern missionaries. They seem to be home more often than they are on the field. We were members of the Christian and Missionary Alliance church in our early years of marriage and that was where we first came to really KNOW missionaries and how we admired them. They truly gave up all to go. When my own son went to China to teach, he came home every summer so it was not too hard on us. We had the advantage of skype and we were happy to see his face and know he was ok. But it did bring to mind all those missionaries who left all, knowing they might never see their families again. Thank you and your husband for all you have given to the Croatian people.

  8. Beautifully written from a heart for HIM! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and a bit of your "past" and how you arrived to where you are now in your walk with the Lord. Keep up the good work...both you and your hubby!

  9. I really enjoyed your post, Tori. The Lord has certainly blessed you and made you a big part of your husband's ministry there..far from home. God uses willing hearts, and He's used yours for sure!

  10. Wow! Thank YOU for your amazing testimony and words in this post! It challenges me even if I don't live in a foreign land.

  11. Anonymous7:16 AM

    Such sad statistics for sure. Not all missionaries are dishonest though. Some make it and some don't for one reason or another. It may be lack of financial support, sickness, lack of encouragement to stick it out. We never know what others are going through, so I have learned its best not to judge what we don't know and just pray. Prayer changes things and encouragement from veteran missionaries goes a long way.

  12. Wonderful post, I enjoyed your story and testimony. I also was raised to have the attitude 'it is what it is, deal with it.' And I learned to do just that..Of course having God to turn to always made that easier.

  13. I agree with so much of what you've said here, and it's not true just for missionaries. So true of many things set before us that are seen as hard, but which used to be seen as just life being life.

  14. I am so glad you shared your testimony. I don't think I had ever read it before. I came from a broken home with an alcoholic father, and while there were problems and issues, God gave grace and brought me to Himself and healed the damage. What I struggle with now in relation to contentment in God's will is caring for my mother-in-law in our home. I know it is God's will for me now and know He gives grace and strength for it. But I still struggle with chafing under it. Today I have been praying Colossians 1:11: "Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness."

  15. What a moving post...I am afraid to admit, but in today's time, not sure if I could do what you do. Thank you for sharing, Tori...truly a blessing.

    Keeping you in prayer, sweet friend.

  16. Great post. Thanks for sharing your heart and allowing us to know you better.

  17. This is amazing, Tori! My husband and I were just talking about how we struggled to get churches to listen to our calling, but yet they were supporting men who bounced around from place to place and couldn't / wouldn't get a work started. Some of those very men accepted years of support and are now sitting in the pew of a local church every week.

    Missions is very dear to my heart and I pray the Lord continues His work through you and your husband for many more years.

  18. Contentment is something learned and the mission field is a great school and God a Great Teacher!!! I remember the early days of arriving in Greenland. We were the only Americans here and I can still recall that overwhelmed, excited, and terrified, feeling!!! But those early days were some of the sweetest fellowship with the Lord. During my low moments now I look back to all He has brought us through and it gives me the courage and JOY to continue on! Those statistics are so sad. I always hate to hear of missionaries leaving the field, especially when there is no one filling their shoes on the way back.

  19. Good post Mom, you are truly an inspirational.God is truly powerful I'm glad y'all stuck it out and gave me a chance to servecwit you as a teenager I am proud to call you all my mother. I have truly endeavoured to find a wife who sticks it out the way you do. I am proud of your commitment.

  20. Anonymous11:46 AM

    Thank you for your post Tori, your example still continues to encourage me. Life can get tough at times and it is amazing to see that if we cling to Him, He will work everything out. Love you guys! Bea Kovacs


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