By ROCKY WALLACE / Co-Pastor of Carlisle United Methodist Church
CARLISLE, Ky. — Our church has been blessed this spring and summer in getting involved with the work of Chris and Amy Compston and their ministry, Amy for Africa. When longtime friend Mark Maynard and I discussed the project, I realized this was a great opportunity for our church to learn up close about missions beyond our local community.
And, wow, we were not disappointed. Amy, Chris, Mark, and their team traveled to Africa in May to deliver much-needed shoes, supplies, medical care, assistance to local schools, development of a model farm, and sharing of the Gospel-all the culmination of a $70,000 fundraising drive that came out of nowhere and thrust the obscure ministry into the limelight in northeastern Kentucky. And now, the Compstons are being led to move to Africa to do full-time missionary work! …Unbelievable…Inspiring…And a sign of what the Christian movement is experiencing in other parts of the world.
And as Mark and the Compstons walked away from our church to their car this past Sunday, after reporting to us of the miraculous journey they are on, I could not help but envy them.
I wonder what it must be like to be so needed by the native people of Africa they are assisting, that they can’t wait to get back on a plane.
I wonder what it must be like to literally give up a career, home, the comforts of this affluent society…to go serve the poorest of the poor.
I wonder what it must be like to offer a worship service and have people come from all around—dancing, singing, praising the Lord, claiming miracles with a simple faith that indeed results in miracles.
I wonder what it must be like to be asked to speak in church after church here at home, and have people eager to simply hear of such a people on another continent who passionately love the Lord, and always have time for Him.
And I wonder when such fire and passion for our faith began disappearing from the mainstream of society here at home. Was it after the renewal of post-World War II America? Did we become too comfortable in our own ability to literally control the world?
Was it after the introduction of the television into most every home in America? Did it become the substitute for the need for intimate relationship with God?
Was it the increasing obsession with self-preservation and comfort that ushered in the 21st Century?
Was it the endless competition for our time from an array of entertainment options—from technology, to malls, to recreation, to Sunday no longer being reserved for worship and restful time at home with family?
New York Times bestselling author David Brooks in his book, The Road to Character, challenges Americans to take a close look at just how much we have lost our way, pointing to what can be called an addiction to narcissism and self. (Wondering what Mamaw and Papaw would have thought of “selfies.” Most likely would have hidden the camera or gave it to charity).
Yes, I have been impressed with Chris and Amy Compston, and the Amy for Africa ministry. Such a dose of fresh air…such a precious zeal for living the faith…such a reminder that perhaps here in post-Christian America, we may have become too comfortable and perhaps too sophisticated for the Christian movement. History reveals these shifts in bedrock societal principles happen, even to the most privileged cultures. Should we be all that surprised?
But in other places, the longing for the Gospel of Christ burns brightly. And thus the Amy and Chris’s are drawn there—to carry on the mission. Our prayers are with them. Yes, we envy them. For there could be no greater calling and fulfillment than to give everything up to take the Gospel to the world.
ROCKY WALLACE is co-pastor with his wife Denise at Carlisle United Methodist Church in Nicholas County, Ky., and also coordinates the graduate educational leadership program at Asbury University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.