In the impoverished Central African Republic (CAR), more than 1 million of the country’s 5 million residents have been forced from their homes by ongoing conflicts and the cruelty of their countrymen. A missionary couple, Ron and Donna, experienced a tragic event there that illustrates both the situation for Christians and biblical values to which we should all aspire.
FAITHFULLY SERVING IN AFRICA
Ron, who was raised on the mission field, and Donna have served faithfully in Africa for more than 35 years, enduring astonishing adversity, including Ron’s being taken hostage early in his work. They have helped plant more than 80 churches in previously unreached areas, and they worked for more than a decade to establish and manage a missions aviation base in eastern CAR, in what Ron described as “a haven of security” within a dangerous and tumultuous region.
But on Good Friday, 2017, the relative peace of their mission station was shattered in a violent attack by Seleka rebels, who since 2012 have waged a brutally violent campaign to overthrow the government. “We were warned of the possibility of an impending attack,” Ron said, “and then within 30 minutes we heard gunfire in our town.” All Christians in the area were either killed or driven into the forest and forced to live off the land while the rebels made way for Muslims to occupy the town.
“Eventually, when we returned to the town,” Ron continued, “we saw that the entire mission station, including the house we built for our family and the aircraft hangars and maintenance facility that we built by hand, were all destroyed”.
Ron’s response to the loss was powerful, biblical and instructive. Emotional and on the verge of tears, he told us, “It was a deep, deep hurt for me to realise that what took generations of missions effort to build was all destroyed. We lost the whole thing, but not the privilege of being able to put it on the altar for Christ.
CHRIST IS WORTHY
“I would not change the cost of what I have done for God,” Ron continued tearfully. “It is so valuable. Everything I can give is worth it. When I stand before the Lord, I will say, ‘Thank You for allowing me to spend my life on things that count for Your eternal kingdom, and thank You for allowing me to share in the sufferings of Christ.’”
We think something is “worth it” when the outcome or product gained is of more value to us than the effort or price we paid. We trade our lives for what we deem valuable, and in exceptional cases we may even consider it an honour or privilege to have had the chance to pay that price.