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Exposed: The untold story of what missionaries endure and how you can make all the difference in whether they remain in ministry Paperback – February 12, 2016
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I read a .pdf version of this book provided to me by the author. He subsequently gave me a printed edition of this book. I know the author and I find him to be very strong in his convictions about the Lord Jesus Christ. I suppose he found in me a kindred soul, and if so, I am very flattered. While a Christian, I am one of those that is continually searching for a greater understanding of Gods purpose. As Franz knows, I am very strong in my Catholic faith but I have great respect for those that are willing to go out and preach the Gospel.
Exposed, is a small book with a very powerful message and one that reinforces the goodness of people like Franz and the struggles that he and his family experienced.
It takes a truly inspired soul to go out to preach to non Christians who are steeped in a tradition of belief systems which do not include Jesus Christ, through whom we are only qualified to see the Father.
Franz' initial appearance, seemed to me to be unlikely to be so dedicated to God and desirous of becoming a missionary. But once you get through talking with him, he leaves little doubt about his knowledge of the Gospel and his gifted ability to preach it. The book goes through the different stages of his calling to do God's work and to take on the burdens of dealing with people/natives in other cultures to expose them to Jesus Christ. Franz was raised in a family of believers and was encouraged to follow his dreams. He talks about how he was inspired by reading of the book of James at age seventeen and trough this experience developed a relation ship with Jesus Christ.
Unhampered by doctrinaire parents and filled with a desire to do God's work, he embarked on his initial experience as a missionary in the jungles of Venezuela as a fulfillment of his desire to leave the Canadian farm country, and experience what God was calling him to. Franz in setting out his own story weaves details of his wife Kristie's up bringing in a family of missionaries. Providing him with real life experiences of what lay ahead of him as he embraced this life and a partnership with her was part of God's plan.
Franz and his bride em-barqued on a missionary to Papua New Guinea with his children in toe and with a fair but limited knowledge of what would befall all of them. God's work is not for the feint heart-ed but for the truly inspired. What happens to the Martens' family is difficult and inspiring and reinforced Franz and Kristie's faith in God. They experienced all the self doubts you would expect and included near death experiences for his children and the kindness of other missionaries and strangers.
After experiencing several years in missionary work and the concomitant dangers associated with this grueling and selfless work, the Marten's returned home to nurse back to health theirs and their own children's physical strength, they decided that there was real room for the counseling of missionaries perspectives of what struggles were in-store for them and how to deal with the struggles that would befall them. They also recognized the need to have a place for missionaries to decompress from these daunting physical and emotional burdens and to refresh their need to re-connect with God's desire for them in the areas where the need to spread the Gospel os most needed. This became the Marten's goal to provide a ministry of Oasis for other struggling families of the missionaries who take upon their shoulders this much needed vocation.
I have to say, this book, albeit short, was inspirational and spoke volumes of the need these people have for both spiritual and financial support. I truly enjoyed reading this book and experiencing, at least, vicariously the struggles faced by these dedicated missionaries in fulfilling God's desires for the spread of Christianity. It was a well written work and enjoyable to the reader. Consequently, I gave this book five stars for my rating. Buy this book and indirectly support God's work.
Serving on the mission field myself, I was challenged by Franz’s perspective and faith in desperate times. He writes of having sat by his four year old daughter’s hospital bed as she nearly died from cerebral malaria. Of that time, he writes, “One of the emotions that surprised us was the peace we felt in our heart after our initial devastation and concern. The grace that God so freely gives us became so much more of a reality in our lives. We were able to function and make decisions because the promise of God is true. He will never leave us or forsake us.”
Sprinkled in throughout the book is thoughtful insights reflecting back on years of service for Christ. He shares of the pressures missionaries face, from keeping up the appearance of constant success to supporters, to new missionaries unrealistic exactions of themselves. On the topic of unrealistic expectations, he writes, “Everything is examined through the lens of self-performance. As we compare ourselves, progress is determined by peers, historic organizational performance and self-imposed goals.” I can attest to this reality as I believe it contributed to my own near-burnout during our first mission assignment.
There was a lot in this book to glean. The last thing I will mention in this review is that I felt personally challenged by the example of the author and his wife considering all that they have been through on the road of obedience. Rather than throwing in the towel, today they are committed to the care of international workers and, at the time of writing, are planning to build a place where cross-cultural Christian workers can take time off from their ministry, come rest and be refreshed.
I would recommend this book to anyone serving, or desiring to serve cross-culturally, any pastor, or any other believer committed to the care and emotional and spiritual support of others serving in full time ministry.