Memorial Day is an important day for a nation like the United States. It is a day to remember and honor those who died while serving in the nation’s military. The day originated after the Civil War where more lives were lost than any other US war (620,000). Memorial Day is different than Veterans Day which originated as Armistice Day, memorializing the end of World War I on Nov 11, 1918, and is a day to remember all service personnel.
Yesterday, I looked again at the wall in our housing complex clubhouse where the names and photos of military men and women are displayed and honored. I ate dinner with one of them. I often thank them for their service.
It is a good thing to honor these heroes of our country, but sometimes I do wonder if we ignore others who went overseas to rescue people from poverty and the powers of the evil one – people representing humanitarian aid groups, Business as Mission, Medical groups, etc.
- When I was the head security officer for a mission agency, a team member was shot to death on his motorcycle by a radical in his mid-east country, who opposed the work he was doing in an engineering firm. He was targeted and died serving the poor of his adopted country as an engineer in a Business as Mission
- My wife’s uncle died at the hands of the Simbas in 1964, as a martyr in the Congo. He had served in the military during WWII but was serving the King of Kings with practical humanitarian work in one of the poorest countries on earth.
- Twenty years ago, I stood at the foot of Smoke Falls in the heart of the Amazon, at the spot where 3 foreigners were killed by a fierce Indian tribe in 1935. They were missionaries trying to connect with the Kayapo and bring spiritual, social, and economic benefit.
- My daughter was the HR Director for World Vision during the Darfur conflict. At least twelve Aid workers were killed by the Janjaweed when she was there. She had responsibility to debrief and evacuate survivors from the October 2004 attack on her convoy of Aid vehicles.
- Two different times, I have spent a week with a group of missional business and professional men and women who work in North Korea. Every day, their lives are at risk, and they have stories of those who have lost their lives while helping in North Korea’s desperate physical and spiritual situation.
- Each year, more than one hundred US foreign Aid workers are killed. Business as Mission workers are also at risk in difficult places in the world.
We can and should remember people like this – people who also give up their lives to reach others with the Good News, bring jobs to those in desperate economic conditions, heal the sick, and love them in the name of Jesus.
Larry W. Sharp, BAM Support Specialist, IBEC Ventures