When Pre-field Ministry makes you feel like George Bailey

By David Prairie

My wife (Brandi) and I love the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The main protagonist, George Bailey (played by Jimmy Stewart), is one of the most admirable characters I’ve ever come across in a film. He’s not perfect, which makes him especially relatable. At various points he’s sarcastic, selfish, angry, hateful, condescending, and even suicidal. But throughout the story, he’s also generous, patient, and hardworking. He stands up for decency against Henry Potter and his greedy attempts to monopolize the town. In all, George is a class act who, although seemingly down on his luck most of the time, ends up gaining perspective and some good karma for the way he treated his fellow man along the way.

But one thing you must understand about George is that he spends the whole movie trying to leave his hometown of Bedford Falls. He has dreams and plans to attend college, see the world, run a big business, and make lots of money. And he knows that the only way he can do any of those things is to get out of Bedford Falls, where everyone has known him since he was a child. To be sure, George was doing great (though small, in his mind at least) things while still based in Bedford Falls. He developed a reputation as a reliable, trustworthy, and honorable man. But he wanted more.

I don’t claim to possess all (or even most) of the positive traits displayed by George Bailey. But I do find myself relating to the character in his desire to begin a new adventure in another part of the world. I’ve lived my whole life up to this point in Chattanooga. The church in which I currently serve I’ve attended since age 5. I had plans of moving away for college, seminary, and other jobs, but none of that ever materialized. Our ongoing pre-field ministry often makes me wonder if, like George, maybe we never will leave home. I trust that we’re being faithful while we’re here. Still, I can’t help but long for and hope for the day to come when we are able to relocate and plant our roots in Moldova.

Would you pray that God will do the work of supplying what is needed through his people so that we can see these plans become a reality? Pray that as we continue to seek partnerships with churches, individuals, and businesses, God would direct us to those that can invest in the work to which he has called us. Perhaps you could be a part of the answer to that prayer, either by committing to monthly support, or by helping connect us with others who could do so.

To discuss these things further with us, contact me at dprairie@abwe.cc. To learn more about our opportunity and how you can be a part of it, visit https://www.abwe.org/work/missionaries/david-and-brandi-prairie.

Author: David Prairie

Husband. Father. International Theological Education for Live Global and ABWE. Doctoral Graduate from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Twitter user: @DavidPrairie

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