A young woman gives up her musical dreams for the mission field.
“Where’s my piano?” I had just realized it no longer sat in the back room.
“It’s gone.” Mama’s voice sounded strained.
My throat tightened. “Where?”
“Did they give as much as we paid for it?”
“Yes,” she nodded.
“That’s good.” I turned to hide my tears.
For years, I’d battled to keep music in its proper place in my life. I simply loved playing. At times, I would practice piano six hours a day without even realizing how much time had passed. As I neared adulthood, God asked me over and over to surrender parts of my musical dreams for His plans. I struggled, but ultimately I knew He had something better.
I left for the mission field in August 2011, planning to stay as long as God needed me. After I came down with dengue fever, however, I had to return to America for several months to recover. That’s when I began to wrestle with God over my piano. I had already given up my car and many of my dreams, but my beautiful Schimmel grand piano was part of me. Yet, as I memorized James 5, God asked me if I really wanted to live what I claimed.
The battle raged for weeks. Finally, with tears, I told my mother that I was willing to sell my piano for mission work. Deep inside, though, I didn’t believe it would go. I didn’t believe my parents would even try to sell it.
Back in the mission field, my personal study time and my conversations with fellow missionaries often centered around self-sacrifice and fellowship with Jesus in suffering. “He withheld nothing. . . . He expects corresponding self-denial and sacrifice on the part of those whom He came to bless and save.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 204. As I thought of Jesus’ sacrifice, God brought my piano to mind again. Was I truly willing to surrender it? I tried to push the thoughts aside. We had paid much less than its worth—in fact, we never could have afforded it if we hadn’t been blessed with multiple markdowns. Never had I played another piano I loved so much. Giving it up would be like deliberately choosing never to see my best friend again.
One day God showed me a picture in my mind. There stood my piano—and beside it, I saw people. Some were my students, others I didn’t know. It seemed God said to me, “You choose. Will you tie up money in your piano that will someday burn while these precious souls pass into eternity? How far could that money go in giving them an opportunity for eternal life? Some of them would choose Me if you gave them the chance. What will you do?”
At that moment, I knew what to do. I didn’t feel any better about the decision, but I knew it was right. On my next furlough, I would play Schimmel one last time. Then we would sell my beautiful piano.
Back home, I kept so busy I didn’t even notice my piano’s absence at first. When I did notice, I found out my Schimmel had been gone for months. Shortly after I had returned to the mission field, my father had called a piano company. They had bought my piano before I even surrendered it to God in the jungle. He had simply been preparing me.
I cried when I realized I would never play Schimmel again. Yet partaking in Christ’s sufferings means one day partaking in His eternal joy—the joy of seeing precious ones rescued from darkness, selfishness, sin and death.
It will be well worth it!
Sarah Van Hee
Sarah is a jungle missionary in Thailand. Read her blog at www.burymyheart.org.
What You Can Do
Pray for young missionaries like Sarah who have given all to serve. Pray for God to uphold, strengthen and empower them for the mission He has given.
Go as a missionary yourself. The need is great. (For proof, read Sarah’s blog!)
Invest in Sarah’s work.
Mail donations marked “Thailand Outreach – Van Hee” to Jesus for Asia, PO Box 1221, Collegedale, TN 37315 or visit www.jesus4asia.org/invest and scroll down to “Thailand Outreach – Van Hee.”
Thank you for the sacrifices you make for missions. Like Sarah, you will see fruit in eternity!