Note: I am introducing a new series entitled “Why I Went.” I am asking people who cashed in the American Dream for a much bigger dream of sacrificial service in the Great Commission. This week I bring you the story of one of my best friends (at least in the other hemisphere – he says I can’t be his best friend in this one), Rob Farnsley. Rob was an apostle to the Bosnians and now works as a mobilizer in the USA.
Looking back over the last 17 years, it is a bit more difficult to remember why I left my life in Fresno, California to join the missionary endeavor. But the first thing I will say is that I DO NOT REGRET IT AND I AM NOT SORRY!
I was in my mid-40’s, very involved as a layman in my church. I was fulfilled and happy and productive, discipling several men and enjoying my real estate career. But still there was something stirring. I had an opportunity to travel with a retired missionary to his former field of service in Western Borneo. He had gone in the 30’s and literally been the first “white man” in those jungles filled with head hunters. 50 years later, we saw the results of his labor. Churches in many remote villages, reaching out to others, and lots of missionaries carrying on the work. They all knew “Opa.”
I did not have a high opinion of missionaries in those days. But my time in Borneo changed all that. I returned with a huge respect for them and their work. Such qualified and dedicated people. That led to my starting a mission committee in my church, which led to my attending a course called “Perspectives on the World Christian Movement,” where I began to learn about what God was doing in the world. I was amazed. This class had a huge impact on me and led me to want to be involved in the effort to reach those who have the least opportunity to hear the Good News, with whatever time I had left in my life.
So, at age 45, still single, I liquidated all my “stuff,” and off I went. That journey has led me through Indonesia, Virginia, Orlando, Bosnia, Canada, back to Bosnia, and now to Orlando. I have had the privilege of working with and serving some of the best people in the world. I have seen so much of the world that I never thought I would see. My singleness has worked to my advantage in many cases, and probably didn’t help in others. But, I am who I am and as mentioned above I DO NOT REGRET AND AM NOT SORRY I have taken this “road less traveled.” There could not be a better road.