For the Long Haul

Tags: Canada, Philippines, Story

For nearly 50 years, Jake and Lillian Leyenaar have faithfully served with SEND, touching lives in each of the places and roles where God placed them. Through their many experiences and the faithfulness of God, Jake and Lillian can recount many highlights, challenges and principles for persevering and thriving in full-time, cross cultural ministry. Some of the principles that Jake and Lillian learned during these years that contributed to their commitment for the long haul include:

Be Open to God


God has a place and a purpose for you. Neither Jake nor Lillian took what many of us would consider to be conventional missionary degrees – Jake studied Agriculture, Lillian studied Music, yet God placed them in ministries that used their training and their passion. In more recent years, Jake and Lillian became involved in a ministry called VOICE – Values Orientation in Classroom Education. Jake was invited to be the director of this program that encourages churches to teach biblical values in Filipino schools. While this wasn’t something that Jake had anticipated doing, he found the new challenge to be a growth opportunity, and they both found the involvement rewarding. Be open to His leading and keep growing!

Be Flexible

FlexibilityWorking cross culturally can be difficult, and it can be humbling at times as you try to function in a new language. It also involves working with people who may do things differently, since they're likely to have a different worldview. Being flexible and others-focused will go a long way. Jake encourages people approaching cross-cultural work to “not take themselves too seriously.” Value your relationships with others and give them space, rather than insisting on things being done your way.

Be Faithful Because God is Faithful

Missionary life can be busy and full of doing God’s work, but in doing so, we should not forget to also make time to spend with the One who has sent us. Be diligent in reading your Bible and spending time in prayer.He is the One who sustains and we become less effective when we are not faithful in spending time in His presence, listening to his heart.

Focus on Relationships

VOICE-StaffLife is all about people. It is easy to get caught up in activities, squeezing out relationship building. This may lead to missed opportunities. Evangelism and discipleship rely heavily on good relationships. Relationships are where you’ll find deeper fulfillment. Relationships require patience, flexibility, grace and love. Focus on your relationship with God, with teammates, and with the community you are working in. Though there were times of frustration and discouragement, Jake and Lillian describe their missionary career as a rewarding adventure in following and serving Jesus, and bringing the Good News wherever he has led them.

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