Mission in Mourning

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My baby is not really my personal guardian angel.  I know that images of cherubim are cute and the idea can be very healing for some, but the idea that my baby has to somehow continue to work for me does not sit well in my heart.

The Bible tells me that the people of heaven are very different than the angels of heaven, and my baby most certainly is a person in heaven, rather than an angel.

Yet, even with these truths, the images of sweet naked little babies with halos are one of the only symbols that our society permits us to actually hold onto as we grieve and acknowledge the reality of our children who have died and entered Heaven.

My baby’s work is finished.

I am the one still here.

I still have a responsibility to partner with God – to let Him lead me, and to obediantly follow.

Many loss parents feel this calling.  We know that we are the only ones who will speak on behalf of our deceased children – we are the only ones who will validate their very real lives and speak of the meaning they have moved in our hearts (whether we utilize the very few symbols we are permitted to use, such as angels, or not).

We are, in short, missionaries, proclaiming the truth, proclaiming their truth, to the world.

Let us encourage one another, as missionaries not only for God, but for our children.

Below are 100 mission mottos (borrowed from Harvest Ministry).  Choose the one that best speaks to your journey in grief and your path to healing.  Leave a comment below, including the number of the motto you most align with, and why.


100 Mission Mottos

1. A man may die leaving upwards of a million, without taking any of it upwards. – William Fetler

2. A nation will not be moved by timid methods. – Luis Palau

3. Anywhere provided it be forward. – David Livingstone

4. As long as there are millions destitute of the Word of God and knowledge of Jesus Christ, it will be impossible for me to devote time and energy to those who have both. – J. L. Ewen

5. Can’t you do just a little bit more? – J.G. Morrison (pleading with Nazarenes in the 1930′s Great Depression to support their missionaries)

6. Christ alone can save the world, but Christ cannot save the world alone. – David Livingstone

7. Christ not only died for all: He died for each. – Billy Graham

8. Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God. – William Carey

9. Go straight for souls, and go for the worst. – William Booth

10. Go, send, or disobey. – John Piper

11. God had an only Son and He made Him a missionary. – David Livingstone

12. God isn’t looking for people of great faith, but for individuals ready to follow Him. – Hudson Taylor

13. God uses men who are weak and feeble enough to lean on him. – Hudson Taylor

14. God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply. – Hudson Taylor

15. He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose. – Jim Elliot

16. I am destined to proclaim the message, unmindful of personal consequences to myself. – Count Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf

17. I believe that in each generation God has called enough men and women to evangelize all the yet unreached tribes of the earth. It is not God who does not call. It is man who will not respond! – Isobel Kuhn, missionary to China and Thailand

18. If God wills the evangelization of the world, and you refuse to support missions, then you are opposed to the will of God. – Oswald J. Smith


As child, at age 5: When I am a man, I mean to be a missionary and go to China.

As a young man: I feel I cannot go on living unless I do something for China.

Late in life, as a veteran missionary: If I had 1,000 lives, I’d give them all for China.

– Hudson Taylor, Missionary to China

20. I have but one candle of life to burn, and I would rather burn it out in a land filled with darkness than in a land flooded with light. – John Keith Falconer

21. I have but one passion: It is He, it is He alone. The world is the field and the field is the world; and henceforth that country shall be my home where I can be most used in winning souls for Christ. – Count Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf

22. I have seen the vision and for self I cannot live; Life is less than worthless till my all I give. – Oswald J. Smith

23. It is easier to be an excessive fanatic than to be consistently faithful, because God causes an amazing humbling of our religious conceit when we are faithful to Him. – Oswald Chambers

24. I pray, and I obey. – David Yonggi Cho

25. I want to be where there are out and out pagans. – Francis Xavier

26. I would rather die for Christ than rule the whole earth. – Ignatius

27. If a commission by an earthly king is considered an honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice? – David Livingstone

28. If God’s love is for anybody anywhere, it’s for everybody everywhere. – Edward Lawlor, Nazarene General Superintendent

29. If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him. – C.T. Studd

30. If missions languish, it is because the whole life of godliness is feeble. The command to go everywhere and preach to everybody is not obeyed until the will is lost by self-surrender in the will of God. Living, praying, giving and going will always be found together. – Arthur T. Pierson

31. If ten men are carrying a log — nine of them on the little end and one at the heavy end — and you want to help, which end will you lift on? – William Borden

32. If the Church is ‘in Christ,’ she is involved in mission. Her whole existence then has a missionary character. Her conduct as well as her words will convince the unbelievers and put their ignorance and stupidity to silence. – David Bosch

33. If the Great Commission is true, our plans are not too big; they are too small. – Pat Morley

34. If we have not enough in our religion . . . to share it with all the world, it is doomed here at home. – David Livingstone

35. If you don’t have a definite call to stay here, you are called to go. – Keith Green

36. If you found a cure for cancer, wouldn’t it be inconceivable to hide it from the rest of mankind? How much more inconceivable to keep silent the cure from the eternal wages of death. – Dave Davidson

37. If you take missions out of the Bible, you won’t have anything left but the covers. – Nina Gunter

38. In no other way can the believer become as fully involved with God’s work, especially the work of world evangelism, as in intercessory prayer. – Dick Eastman

39. In our lifetime, wouldn’t it be sad if we spent more time washing dishes or swatting flies or mowing the yard or watching television than praying for world missions? – Dave Davidson

40. In the vast plain to the north I have sometimes seen, in the morning sun, the smoke of a thousand villages where no missionary has ever been. – Robert Moffat

41. It is possible for the most obscure person in a church, with a heart right toward God, to exercise as much power for the evangelization of the world, as it is for those who stand in the most prominent positions. – John R. Mott

42. It’s better to obey God rather than men. – Brother Andrew

43. Let my heart be broken with the things that break God’s heart. – Bob Pierce, World Vision founder

44. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing! – Helen Keller (she wasn’t a missionary, but this is an inspiring mission-minded thought!)

45. Life is precarious, and life is precious. Don’t presume you will have it tomorrow, and don’t waste it today. – John Piper

46. Live God LOUD! – Ron Luce, TeenMania

47. Lost people matter to God, and so they must matter to us. – Keith Wright

48. Missionary zeal does not grow out of intellectual beliefs, nor out of theological arguments, but out of love. – Roland Allen

49. Missions is not just for missionaries; God’s call is for all. – Ann Dunagan, The Mission-Minded Family

50. Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. – John Piper

51. Missions is practicing God’s presence until His passion compels us to obey. – Ann Dunagan, The Mission-Minded Family

52. Missions is the overflow of our delight in God because missions is the overflow of God’s delight in being God. – John Piper

53. Never pity missionaries; envy them. They are where the real action is — where life and death, sin and grace, Heaven and Hell converge. – Robert C. Shannon

54. No reserves. No retreats. No regrets. – William Borden

55. Not, how much of my money will I give to God, but, how much of God’s money will I keep for myself? – John Wesley

56. Oh, that I could spend every moment of my life to God’s glory! – David Brainerd

57. Oh, that I had a thousand lives and a thousand bodies! All of them should be devoted to no other employment but to preach Christ to these degraded, despised, yet beloved mortals. – Robert Moffat

58. One Way: Jesus! One Job: Evangelism! – T.L. Osborn

59. Only as the church fulfills her missionary obligation does she justify her existence. – Unknown

60. Our God of Grace often gives us a second chance, but there is no second chance to harvest a ripe crop. – Kurt von Schleicher

61. Some wish to live within the sound of church and chapel bell. I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell! – C.T. Studd

62. Someone asked, Will the heathen who have never heard the Gospel be saved? It is more a question with me whether we — who have the Gospel and fail to give it to those who have not — can be saved. – Charles Spurgeon

63. Tell the students to give up their small ambitions and come eastward to preach the gospel of Christ. – Francis Xavier

64. The best remedy for a sick church is to put it on a missionary diet. – David Livingstone

65. This generation can only reach this generation. – David Livingstone

66. Sympathy is no substitute for action. – David Livingstone

67. The Bible is not the basis of missions; missions is the basis of the Bible. – Ralph Winter, U.S. Center for World Mission

68. The Christian is not obedient unless he is doing all in his power to send the Gospel to the heathen world. – A. B. Simpson

69. The Church must send or the church will end. – Mendell Taylor

70. The church that does not evangelize will fossilize. – Oswald J. Smith

71. The mission of the church is missions.– Oswald J. Smith

72. (Related to the previous quote.) God’s mission for the family is expanding God’s family.– Ann Dunagan, The Mission-Minded Family

73. We talk of the Second Coming; half the world has never heard of the first. – Oswald J. Smith

74. The church which ceases to be evangelistic will soon cease to be evangelical. – Alexander Duff

75. The gospel is only good news if it gets there in time. – Carl F. H. Henry

76. The Great Commission is not an option to be considered; it is a command to be obeyed. – Hudson Taylor

77. The Great Commission is the Great Adventure of Christianity. – Ron Luce, TeenMania

78. The history of missions is the history of answered prayer. – Samuel Zwemer

79. The light that shines farthest shines brightest nearest home. – C. T. Studd

80. The mark of a great church is not its seating capacity, but its sending capacity. – Mike Stachura

81. There is nothing in the world or the Church – except the church’s disobedience – to render the evangelization of the world in this generation an impossibility. – Robert Speer

82. The spirit of Christ is the spirit of missions. The nearer we get to Him, the more intensely missionary we become. – Henry Martyn, missionary to India and Persia

83. The supreme task of the Church is the evangelization of the world. – Oswald J. Smith

84. The will of God — nothing less, nothing more, nothing else. – F. E. Marsh (also attributed to Bobby Richardson)

85. To know God and to make Him known. – Loren Cunningham, YWAM

86. To know the will of God, we need an open Bible and an open map. – William Carey, pioneer missionary to India

87. Untold millions are still untold. – John Wesley

88. Walk away from your own preoccupations . . . and see the perishing multitudes. – K.P. Yohannan, Gospel for Asia

89. We are debtors to every man to give him the gospel in the same measure in which we have received it. – P.F. Bresee, founder of the Church of the Nazarene

90. We can reach our world, if we will. The greatest lack today is not people or funds. The greatest need is prayer. – Wesley Duewel, head of OMS International

91. We must be global Christians with a global vision because our God is a global God. – John Stott

92. What can we do to win these men to Christ? – Richard Wurmbrand, The Voice of the Martyrs (referring to the men who were persecuting him)

93. Why should anyone hear the Gospel twice, before everyone has heard it once? -Oswald J. Smith

94. Will you go to His feet and place yourself entirely at His disposal? – William Booth

95. Will you shed your tears for the souls of the nations? – Wendi Stranz, Pastor’s wife

96. World missions was on God’s mind from the beginning. – Dave Davidson

97. You can give without loving. But you cannot love without giving. – Amy Carmichael

98. You can’t take it with you, but you can send it on ahead. – Oswald J. Smith

99. You must go or send a substitute. – Oswald J. Smith

100. You have one business on earth – to save souls. – John Wesley

This giveaway is now closed.  The winner is YLMBreadless!  Congratulations and thank you everyone for participating!  Please use the feedback form or comment below (it won’t be published) with your address, so I can ship these lovely items to you!

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  1. Heidi, What a great idea…

    There were so many great quotes here, but the one that kept ringing in my mind was no.3. “Anywhere provided it be forward.” – David Livingstone

    As I’ve walked- and am still walking- with this mother’s grief, I am aware that as long as I am moving forward in my Father, in His will, I am moving exactly where I should be. Allowing my grief to paralyze me- emotionally or spiritually- defeats the purpose my Lord has for me in this experience and is a poor memorial for my babies. God be praised always- Though He slay me… I move forward to honor my babies and my God. Where He leads is his business…

    Love to all,


  2. Kristin Young says:


    I often get the same responce about my little ones in heaven being “angel” and watching out for us. I have always had the same feeling. They are people, made in the likeness and image of Christ! Far better. I know He has a plan for each life and that plan is still being carried out in the kingdom of God!
    I chose #12 God isn’t looking for people of great faith, but for individuals ready to follow Him. – Hudson Taylor
    I never believed myself to be strong enough or of faith great enough to walk this journey, but I trust God and will follow where He leads me.

  3. Wow. This was so touching. Thank you for sharing these beautiful verses/quotes/devotionals – I will have to find some time to participate in the facebook discussions. I think I will also start a 100 day photography challenge based on everything in this blog post. You are so inspirational, thank you!! What you are doing is so nice, and what a neat giveaway idea!

  4. Number 29, because every day is a sacrifice and a labor of love.

  5. Kasheca Istre says:

    44. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing! – Helen Keller

  6. cassie demars says:

    Love love love

  7. I chose 29. too. “If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him. – C.T. Studd” It was when I chose to obey that I lost two sets of twins. Sometimes it was difficult to grasp that idea, that I nearly died in both pregnancies and my babies DID die, and all because I trusted, obeyed, and sacrificed. Yet here, I am again, joyfully trusting and obeying, and praying that God blesses me in sacrifice.

  8. Melissa Hart says:

    Number 28 speaks to me. Even after two years, I’m still not ready to tell our story to the world. All of you who post, host sharing/q&a sessions, etc are my heros. I love and appreciate you all. I know G-d has a plan for me. I walk His path as best I can every day. That’s all I can do… Thank you.

  9. mdemaris says:

    35. If you don’t have a definite call to stay here, you are called to go. – Keith Green

    I lost 3 babies in 4 (2 pregnancies) months time….. I am blessed with 3 living…….No one( except my husband and a special lady) knows about the second one….. After the first one everyone kept telling me to just move on……I do not think I have it in me to tell any stories about any of my babies who are not with us on this earth……I just keep telling myself. In His Time.

  10. finleysmummymel says:

    79. The light that shines farthest shines brightest nearest home. – C. T. Studd
    In the almost three years since Finley was born I have found my light which in itself was very healing. My light has been hiding and conciously hidden by me for a long long time. Finley helped me find it, and decide that life was too short not to show it. I shine it far and wide, but much of my work in Finley’s name is done locally. It is there that my light and his burn brightly together.

  11. at first I thought 35 was right…until I read 98
    98. You can’t take it with you, but you can send it on ahead. – Oswald J. Smith
    The only thing that helps when I feel sad about Emma is the belief that some day I will see her again and she will know me.

  12. 56. Oh, that I could spend every moment of my life to God’s glory! – David Brainerd
    If my healing and her life and death can meen anything for His glory I willingly give it all for His use. for my life is not for me to live ,But for Him to live through me

  13. I chose number 79 too.. The light that shines farthest shines brightest nearest home. – C. T. Studd..Our baby Summer was born and went to be with the Lord on July 4th 2010 and the saying “She was the light of our lives Now she lights up the Heavens” holds so true to my Heart..so when I saw # 79 I knew this was the one for me.


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