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Missionaries are not super Christians. They are only those who heard God’s call on their lives, understood it, and responded to it. Their lives are often filled with difficulties and resistance, but through trials, they gain a deeper knowledge of God’s heart.

Sometimes, they pen the lessons that God has taught them, and those words live on to inspire and challenge believers today. Here are four quotes from missionaries to light a fire in your heart for the Great Commission.

Honor or Sacrifice

“If a commission by an earthly king is considered a honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?” -David Livingstone

David Livingstone was a Scottish missionary to Africa in the 1800s. While other missionaries remained stationed in Cape Town, South Africa, Livingstone desired to travel to unreached tribes further inland.

Many would see his life as full of sacrifice. Traveling in remote regions meant his wife and children were vulnerable to tropical diseases, and he was a target for African predators and hostile tribes.

But Livingstone did not dwell on the sacrifice. Rather, he focused on the honor of his King—the King of Heaven and Earth—calling him to take part in the Great Commission. This mindset of honor over sacrifice allowed him to endure the hardships of his missionary life.

Available to God

“Oh God, here's my Bible. Here's my money. Here's me. Use me, God.” -Gladys Aylward

In the early 1900s, China Inland Mission rejected Gladys Aylward’s appeal to be sent as a missionary. Undeterred, Aylward saved up money and went to China anyway.

She was unmarried and did not have the backing of a missions organization, but Aylward knew God was calling her to China. Because she made herself available to God’s purposes, the Lord provided the way for her to go.

Aylward’s work in Asia touched countless lives who were impacted by both her humanitarian efforts and her commitment to take the gospel to a spiritually dark nation—all because she wanted to be used by God.

A Life Not Wasted

“No reserves. No retreats. No regrets.” -William Borden

William Borden was young, educated, and wealthy. He could have accepted a number of illustrious job offers after college, but his heart was set on a different dream—reaching Muslims in China.

On December 17, 1912, he boarded a ship from New York to Egypt, where he was to spend a year studying Arabic. While in Cairo, Borden contracted spinal meningitis. On April 9, 1913, less than four months after beginning his missionary journey, Borden passed away at the age of 25.

It is said that Borden wrote “No reserves. No retreats” in his Bible before leaving New York. Before his death, he added “No regrets.” Borden’s life was not wasted because he faithfully answered God’s call. Though he never made it to China, he lived his life fully for the Lord.

Fruit of Endurance

“There are grave difficulties on every hand, and more are looming ahead. Therefore, we must go forward.” -William Carey

William Carey’s road to missions was full of trials and setbacks. His fellow Baptists in England did not support his desire for overseas missions. His team in India struggled to obtain financial support. One of his children died of dysentery, and his wife’s mental health deteriorated until her death.

Challenges were on every side of him. He could have retreated. Instead, he pressed on.

Seven years after traveling overseas, Carey baptized the first Hindu man he had led to Christ. He and his team translated the Bible into more than 40 languages. Dozens of churches were planted in India, as well as more than 100 schools.

The Lord blessed Carey’s endurance with lasting gospel fruit. By the time of Carey’s death, India had more than 30 missionaries and about 600 church members.

Obeying the Great Commission will always come with hardships, but those who choose to respond know that the rewards far outweigh the losses.