Surplus Versus Sacrifice
By Debbie Simler-Goff
My home had a blessed visitation recently. Nick and Pam Sisco, and their two precious children, Allanah and Steven, stayed at our house for a few days. They are missionaries and are home on furlough from Ghana.
I don’t know how many people really realize what missionaries go through. Of course, the media brings their sufferings to our attention when it’s extreme – think Martin and Gracia Burnam but the majority of the time our missionary’s hardships and sacrifices go largely unnoticed – and sadly unsupported in the western world.
My friends, for example, are required to give up their home in Ghana every 4 years. They must pack all their belongings into a storage unit of some kind and leave it in Ghana. Then they spend the next 18 months to 2 years traveling in a mini-van and depending on the good-natured people of the United States and Canada to put them up for a night or two and/or become a financial supporter so they can raise the necessary funds to return to their first love – Ghana.
(Let me pause here to stress this is not their choice, this is normal protocol for all of the UPCI missionaries.) I wonder how many North American pastors and their wives would be willing to sell their homes every 4 years, leave all their belongings in a Public Storage, and live out of a car, a hotel or another pastor’s guest room for 2 years?
Makes you stop and think doesn’t it?
I tell you all of this not so you will feel sorry for Nick and Pam Siscoe or anyone else like them. (They wouldn’t want you to) But to share how deeply touched I was by their beautiful spirits and sacfricial giving. In Ghana the Sisco’s are lucky if they have electricity 4 out of 7 days. They consider themselves equally blessed if the city water is providing 3 days a week. They do without a lot of conveniences and they live on a very tight budget – all for the sake of God’s kingdom.
Their quiet example of true Kingdom Living and sacrificial giving convicted me to the core of my being. My giving – either of time or money – is mostly out my abundance. I pay my tithes, attend weekly services and teach Bible studies – but I want for nothing really. My home is comfortable, my closet is full, and groceries abound in my house. And here are my precious friends with so little of the material things – no home, limited finances and possessions -yet they glow with the contentment and joy of the Lord.
How pleased Jesus must be with Nick and Pam Sisco! They remind me of the story of the widow’s offering in Mark 12:41-44 “Jesus went over to the collection box in the Temple and sat and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. …Then a poor widow came and dropped in two pennies. …He called his disciples to him and said, “I assure you, this poor widow has given more than all the others have given. …For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.” ”
Nick and Pam left today to the next place on their itinerary. I’d worked most of the day and when I came home, the house was spotless – Pam had cleaned it. The sheets on the beds they stayed in had been washed and neatly folded and a beautiful, hand-carved elephant family was sitting on my kitchen counter with a lovely thank-you note.
I started to cry. Even in their hardship. Even in this humbling journey of seeking financial support – they had given so deeply of themselves. I knew they had brought those hand carved elephants from Ghana in hopes of selling them for income. And yet, they – like the widow – had given so sacrificially. Oh, God. Change me. Change all of us ‘westerners’. Birth in us a love for those who serve on foreign fields and teach us to give and sacrifice like they do. In Jesus Name. Amen.
From: uploaded personally by Sis. Simler-Goff to the AIS web site. Sis. Goff is an Apostolic that writes often for the IBC Perspectives magazine. October 2009