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The Missionary's Return

This is the story of Henry Morrison's return to the states after several decades of missionary work in Africa.  Opinions vary as to the exact words of the conversations which took place in this incident, so I have written what I think captures the essence of this true story.

 The Missionary's Return


After forty years of faithful service to the Lord as a missionary to Africa, Henry Morrison and his wife were returning to New York.  As the ship neared the dock, Henry said to his wife, “Look at that crowd.  They haven't forgotten about us”.  However, unknown to Henry, the ship also carried President Teddy Roosevelt, returning from a big game hunting trip in Africa.  Roosevelt stepped from the boat, with great fanfare, as people  were cheering, flags were waving,  bands were playing, and reporters waiting for his comment, Henry and his wife slowly walked away unnoticed.  They hailed a cab, which took them to the one bedroom apartment which had been provided by the mission board. 

Over the next few weeks, Henry tried, but failed to put the incident behind him.  He was sinking deeper into depression when one evening, he said to his wife, “This is all wrong.  This man comes back from a hunting trip and everybody throws a big party.  We give our lives in faithful service to God for all these many years, but no one seems to care.”

His wife cautioned him that he should not feel this way.  Henry replied “I know you're right, but I just can't help it.  It just isn't right.”

His wife then said, “Henry, you know God doesn't mind if we honestly question Him.  You need to tell this to the Lord and get this settled now.  You'll be useless in His ministry until you do.”

Henry Morrison then went to his bedroom, got down on his knees and, shades of Habakkuk, began pouring out his heart to the Lord.  “Lord, you know our situation and what's troubling me.  We gladly served you faithfully for years without complaining.  But now God, I just can't get this incident out of my mind...”

After about ten minutes of fervent prayer, Henry returned to the living room with a peaceful look on his face.  His wife said “It looks like you've resolved the matter.  What happened?”

Henry replied, “The Lord settled it for me.  I told Him how bitter I was that the President received this tremendous homecoming, but no one even met us as we returned home.  When I finished, it seemed as though the Lord put His hand on my shoulder and simply said, 'But Henry, you are not home yet!'”


Comment:
 

I have to believe that when Henry Morrison finally went home, the celebration dwarfed the welcoming received by Teddy Roosevelt on the docks.  I can just image thousands upon thousands of Africans, who he had reached for Christ, standing at the Gates of Heaven, applauding and welcoming Henry home.

One by one they came
Far as the eye could see.
Each life somehow touched
By your generosity.
Little things that you had done,
Sacrifices made,
Unnoticed on the earth
In heaven, now proclaimed.

And I know up in heaven
You're not supposed to cry
But I am almost sure
There were tears in your eyes.
As Jesus took your hand
And you stood before the Lord.
He said, “My child, look around you.
Great is your reward.”

Thank you for giving to the Lord.
I am a life that was changed.
Thank you for giving to the Lord.
I am so glad you gave.

(Ray Boltz - Thank You, 1995)


...as it is written:

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Cor 2:9)


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