It’s fairly well understood that sharing the good news about Christ is the central focus of Biblical missions. Missionary Lynne Castelijn absolutely agrees. “Without a doubt,” she writes, “a large part of missionary work revolves around Bible translation, preaching the Gospel, developing Bible lessons and discipleship.”
“But,” she adds, “it’s almost impossible to live amongst a people group in a developing country without showing the love of Christ in practical ways, too.”
From the very beginning in the 1990’s, when Albert and Lynne Castelijn joined the Banwaon missionary team, medical work, community development projects and other practical ministries have been essential and integral to their ministry.
And although they have, for many years, been involved personally with material ministry to the Banwaon people, recently the calls for help have been stepped up. In fact, at times they feel absolutely overwhelming.
Each of their recent incoming supply flights has, upon departure, carried a full load of medical patients. Of these patients who are being flown out for medical help, every case has been seen personally by Albert, discussed with Banwaon clinic workers and been the subject of much email correspondence with receiving hospital staff. In addition, there must be letters of reference written and money loaned for the return flight.
In addition to the load of medical needs, there are extensive community needs, like the restoration projects that have followed last year’s typhoon and ongoing water projects for the community.
Christ’s powerful words from Matthew 25:40 urge Albert and Lynne’s hearts toward meeting these practical needs; Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.
But there is great challenge in living in a place surrounded by such vast needs.
“There is such a thing as ‘compassion burn-out’ and at times we’ve had flickers of it in our lives,” Lynne shares candidly. The needs are staggering and the resources are limited. This can be so overwhelming.
What can you do? Lynne says you can commit to concerted prayer for the Castelijn’s ministry to the Banwaon people. She urges you to pray for wisdom and discernment to know who to help and how to help them. For insight into the difference between short-term solutions and true long-term help. She asks you to pray for Albert and herself—for endurance, for Christ’s heart of love and His supply of resources and for compassion to minister practically for His eternal glory.