Is It “Safe” to Be a Missionary Today?

What the war in Ukraine teaches us about the risk of following God’s call.

This article was originally published on

We’ve all been stunned by the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine. Not only do I grieve with the Ukrainian people who are losing their homes, their dreams of the future, and even in some cases their very lives — I also wonder what this means for the rest of the continent.

I live in Italy, a country that seems the epitome of safe. Yet only a few months ago I thought Ukraine was safe too. Perhaps like you, I thought you could serve on mission in a non-threatening place by avoiding the Middle East and maybe North Africa. But Europe?

The list of “safe” countries seems to be shrinking all the time.

In light of this, we must ask the question: Is it safe to be a missionary today?

Let’s stop and consider how must Jesus have felt as He began His own three-year journey. He packed what few possessions He had and said goodbye to His family. He joined up with men He had only just met and He went into strangers’ homes — most of them people that society deemed unworthy. He had the enemy whispering in corners and plotting His death as they watched His every move.

But a desire for safety did not govern Jesus’ steps — the voice of God did. He had no fear and perfect peace.

Are we foolish to serve as cross-cultural disciple-makers when political instability and terrorism seem to be on the rise everywhere? Could there be a “safer” calling for which I should be looking?

These are questions I’ve asked myself and the Lord many times. And every time I’ve questioned, God has lovingly showed me this truth: There is no promise of safety on this side of heaven. We are not meant for this world — we are only visiting. 

I’m reminded of God’s words in Isaiah 41:10: “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will also help you, I will also uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

God does give us the promise of Himself here on earth. He promises His presence, His strength, and His support. And He keeps all His promises. His presence brings peace, and this peace brings hope. 

So, how do I feel about living in Europe right now?

There may be more uncertainty now, but I choose to trust in God’s promises. I’ll stay because God says stay. I’ll serve because He says serve, and I’ll love because He says love. The rest is up to God, and I will trust Him for every day I’m visiting.

Amy and her family live and make disciples in Italy.

This article is submitted by Crossworld. Crossworld is a Missio Nexus member.  Member organizations can provide content to the Missio Nexus website. See how by clicking here.

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