I Corinthians 13 – Love Always Perseveres
By Ron Hughes
Ron continues his love series from I Corinthians 13 with a post entitled, “Love Always Perseveres.” This time, a couple meet a veteran missionary. In this series, Ron breaks down I Corinthians 13:4-7 into easily segments by using a selection of “love” themed short stories.
Ron Hughes is the president of FBH International and has decades of experience in Christian mass communications. Recently Ron has overseen the launching of HopeStreamRadio, a Christian internet radio ministry. One of Ron’s passions is writing and he shares this passion with others on his program, “Author Interview.“
Josh & Lydia Meet Silas
Josh and Lydia went together to their apartment door to greet Silas. They had been anticipating this visit from the elderly missionary for six weeks, ever since their church had invited him to speak. They had enjoyed his public meetings, but were even more excited about the possibility of talking to him face-to-face.
Once everyone was comfortable, Lydia invited Silas to talk about his early days in missions.
“I was part of the wave of missionaries motivated by the martyrdom of the five missionaries in Ecuador in 1956. Like many missionaries of that time, my wife, Grace, and I spent a few months learning Spanish, then headed for the most remote areas we could find. Within six months, we were living in a little split bamboo house in an indigenous village east of the Andes.
“So languages came easily to you?” said Lydia.
A Great Trial
Silas laughed aloud. “No,” he said. “It was a great trial for me. I am a verbal person and to be sent back to the toddler stage in my communication ability was most disheartening. I was surrounded by people I loved. I had things to say to them. Yet I was reduced to the simplest constructions and gestures. At one point, I grew so discouraged, I started to slip into depression. But the Lord was merciful and I gradually learned enough Quechua to be useful.”
Josh was curious. “What was life like in the jungle?”
“Unlike anything you’ve experienced,” said the old man. “There were no schools, no hospitals, no media of any kind, not even a telephone, and no electricity. We used ham radio powered by a generator to communicate with the outside world.”
“What other challenges did you face?” This time it was Lydia who asked the question.
“We got a lot of rain on the east side of the Andes. More than 20 feet — yes feet — of rain a year. It rained almost every day. Several times during rainy seasons, we didn’t see the sun for a month at a time.”
Josh Is Shocked
Josh looked shocked. “That sounds awful.”
“It was at first,” said Silas, “but you get used to such things. Besides, when you’re focused on your work and you love the people, it’s amazing what you can put up with — even things like tarantulas and poisonous snakes getting into your house.”
Lydia shivered. “Really?”
“Oh, yes,” said Silas. “Really! I thank the Lord that we were never bitten, because that could have been deadly without prompt medical attention. We did get lots of bites though. I personally fed generations of mosquitos, chiggers, and ‘no-see-ums’ as we called them.”
“I’m glad that God seems to be calling us to urban ministry.” said Lydia. “I’m not sure I could stand roughing it like you did in your early days.”
“I’m with Lydia on that,” said Josh. “But tell us about the food. We’ve read some rather disturbing accounts.”
“Like the weather, you get used to the food,” said Silas. “We ate a lot of yuca and rice. We kept a few chickens so we had eggs and meat. The villagers provided deer, wild pigs, monkeys, and fish they hunted down.”
Love Always Perseveres
“You ate monkey meat?” asked Lydia.
“Oh, yes! It wasn’t my favourite, but we ate what was available. The funny thing was that it all tasted the same. Because of the climate, meat spoiled quickly, so it was always smoked to preserve it. Everything tasted more like charcoal smoke than anything. Though some things were tougher than others — like the monkeys. But I’m not complaining. Look at me. Still carrying a few extra pounds!”
“It sounds like you endured a lot of hardships back in those early days,” said Josh. “Things seem to be a lot different from what I hear from missionaries now.”
Once again the old man smiled broadly as he spoke. “Yes, you young people will have it easier in some ways, but you’ll have your challenges. You’ll get down when the hard times come. You’ll be tempted to give up on people. You’ll think that you just imagined God’s call on your life. But if God really has called you, He will put love for the people in your hearts. And love… Well, love always perseveres.”
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Images Courtesy of:
Ecuadorian Child – M Nota
Map – Public Domain
Parrots – Crissie Hardy
Love Always Hopes– Keramark Solutions
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