I attended the funeral of one of our former missionaries today. She was 54 and her youngest child is just out of high school. It was a very moving occasion. Remarkable testimonies were given by her sons and brother and a fine message by the pastor, also a former missionary. However, the thing I will most remember is what her friend said in summing up her life. Eileen Wiersma had an infectious enthusiasm. When she found something great, she communicated her enthusiasm by saying, "You gotta come with." Whether the activity was camping or Bible Study Fellowship, Eileen was a "recruiter." This made her very effective as a missionary, especially since a big part of her task was finding new teachers for Quisqueya Christian School in Haiti. She made a compelling case to many people that this was a ministry of vital importance and worth the sacrifice that the teacher would need to make. She would tell the person, "You gotta come with," and they did.
Somehow in our society the idea of trying to persuade people about matters of faith has developed a negative reputation. Perhaps the problem is that in the worlds of advertising and politics we have come to assume that the persuaders are simply self-serving and not to be trusted. Perhaps it is because we want to wall off an area of our lives that is "me," outside of the influence of others. But if the Christian message is true, it is not an act of love and care to keep it to yourself. If you had a fistful of tickets for admission to a Great Banquet hall, and you had already tasted and enjoyed the great celebration, it would be no kindness to keep news of this Banquet quiet. Instead, the caring thing to do is spread the news widely because receiving it is beneficial to the hearers.
At the end of her recital of Eileen's life, her friend envisioned her enjoying Heaven today, looking down at us and saying, "You gotta come with."