I just finished an exhausting time with a small team and my missionary friend, Aaron. It was a 10-day long trek in the Himalayas seeing some of the most urgent physical and spiritual needs imaginable. Kids dying from diarrhea because they have no clean water. Girls the age of 10 being sold into a life of sex slavery. An entire nation living without the knowledge of what Jesus has done for them on the cross.
Riding to the airport next to Aaron, who is driving, I ask, “Aaron, weren’t you a pastor of a church before you moved out here?”
“And that was after you had that first experience hiking, right?”
“Yeah. When I came back down the mountain after meeting that sex trafficker selling kids into the sex trade, I decided I was going to do everything I could to spread the gospel and show God’s grace in these mountains. But I didn’t immediately move out here. Instead, I served as a pastor, mobilizing people for work here. Along the way I started building a team—with people from this country as well as from churches in other countries.”
“That’s interesting,” I say as I think about my own desire as a pastor to mobilize people for work in different places around the world. “So what made you decide to leave pastoring a church in order to move your family here?”
Aaron smiles and pauses. I can tell he’s hesitant to answer, almost like he doesn’t want to say what he’s thinking. So I ask again, “Why’d you do it?”
“Do you really want to know?”
“I’ve asked you twice now.” I laugh as I say it. “Yes, I really want to know!”
“I got tired of talking.”
Now I understand why he was hesitant to answer. Aaron didn’t want to offend me. I am a pastor…who does a lot of talking.
“I felt like I was talking about ministry in the midst of urgent spiritual and physical need,” Aaron says, “more than I was doing ministry in the midst of such needs. And I decided that needed to change.”