On the field, they were living and working on the eastern edge of a country that's half way around the world from where I am. It's close to the border of two other countries, and a third country not too far beyond. While all of these countries are close neighbors in proximity, they're not really on friendly terms with each other.
The work these friends participate in involves people of several nationalities. Their work, after all, is about people. So many people there are looking for freedom from a long list of things. Being in bondage to a stronghold is tough enough when it's partly of our own making. Having one forced on you by government is one I can hardly fathom. That's the kind of governments they're surrounded by over there.
Borders are patrolled by armed guards. Those guards and their guns are there to keep people from fleeing. Not just to keep people out, but to keep people in.
Some women are forced to have abortions, even at gunpoint.
Sharing your faith in Jesus in public is against the law. I'm not sure what the penalty is if you're caught doing that, but I think probably threats at gunpoint are involved.
Only once in my life have I had a gun pointed at my head. My perpetrator was using a gun to break the law, not enforce it. By the grace of God I survived that incident without any serious physical harm, but I will never forget it. I will never forget that as my life was threatened all I could think about was getting out of that situation.
There are probably times when that thought is foremost on the minds of the people in those countries too.
As of next month, this couple will be officially retired as missionaries. They will no longer have to report to the professional organization that has supported and sponsored them all these years. Not only will they be free from that responsibility, but they will also be free from any of the financial support (which was most likely modest) they have been used to for much of their lives.
They have found a way to take advantage of their new freedoms. In just a couple of days, they will be going back to that foreign country. On their own. Without that umbrella of professional support. They will, however, have the prayer support of people like me who often take our freedoms for granted. There are still people over there that need help finding the freedom only Jesus can give them.
Oh, there is so much work to be done.
Please help me pray for them.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1