At Shocco Springs, we often say something like, “It is an honor or a pleasure to serve those who serve.” It’s always meant sincerely, but is often overused so it may come across as cliché. That being said, there are times when, cliché or not, it must be said. There are times that you catch a glimpse of the servant heart of Jesus in those in front of you, and you can’t help but appreciate the blessing of serving them.
We recently hosted a reunion of former, and a few current, missionaries to Nigeria. These people gave up a jobs, being close to friends and family, and the simple comforts most of us take for granted to go and take the Gospel to people in need halfway around the world. Among them were some of the first Journeyman ever commissioned by the International Mission Board and one of the founders of the Journeyman program. These were great men and women who answered God’s call to take His life-changing message to Nigeria.
Many of the guests were MKs (or missionary kids). They, unlike their parents, had no choice but to grow up on the mission field. When other children were going to the park or swimming in the public pool, they were swimming in a river that most of us have never heard of. Sacrifice for service is a way of life for missionaries and their families. To see these children, now grown with their own children, reunited for the weekend was a treat. Ladies greeting each other like teenage friends on the first day of school after a long summer spent away was a common scene in the lobby. Many reminiscent conversations undoubtedly lasted long into the night.
This year was a changing of the guard as former missionary Bill Cowley, who had been in charge of organizing the reunion, handed the reins over to MK, Kevin Reece. This passing of the torch was evident because so many MKs and MGKs were present at the reunion. To call it a family atmosphere is again cliché and falls short of the feeling that was in the air. When God calls you to a foreign land with little of what you consider familiar, it is easy to imagine that there are many times when you are left with two things— God and each other. The community of these guests was so strong that you could almost touch it. More senior members of the group were not known as Mr. and Mrs., but instead as Aunt and Uncle, and friends were more like brothers and sisters.
We are blessed as a staff to have such great people cross our paths week in and week out. On our grounds, you may often hear stories of how God has used Shocco to bless lives, but many of the lives that have visited here have blessed us as much as they have been blessed. So to say it was an honor to serve such servants may sound common. It is in fact anything but, much like the servants themselves and the God they serve.