The Unfinished Mission Story
“But Sergio did not improve.”
It’s the only line I can still remember of the first mission story I ever had to tell at church. When I was 10, my fourth-grade teacher somehow cajoled me into memorizing and then telling the mission story from the Mission Quarterly, and—terrors!—presenting it to the Sabbath school members in the large congregation she attended.
As best I can recall, Sergio was a small and very ill boy from Brazil, who desperately needed medical help from a church-run clinic. And try as I may, I still can’t recall how the mission story turned out. All I have left of it is that rather ominous-sounding fragment: “But Sergio did not improve.”
Needless to say, I’ve thought a great deal about Sergio over the years. Each time I meet a Sergio in my travels around the world—and there are many—I ask myself, “Could this be him? Is this the boy from the mission story 40 years ago whose health was heading the wrong direction?”
I’m not the only one for whom the mission stories of this worldwide movement have been greatly influential. As you’ll learn from this month’s cover feature, “100 Years of Mission Giving,” millions of Seventh-day Adventists around the globe have for 100 years been finding inspiration, motivation, and worthy projects to support in the mission stories told with such color and skill. The thirteenth Sabbath offering—long a treasured opportunity to push forward the mission of the church—has built schools and churches and seminaries and publishing houses—and hospitals, maybe even the one where Sergio sought help.
Pray as you read this month’s edition of Adventist World. Pray for a heart that still seeks to know how the mission story will finally come out, and for a heart made generous by grace. By the grace of God, and because you continue to care, Sergio will yet improve.