"the martyrs were never vague about their intention."
While providing vague and general locations of operation and purpose may seem reasonable from an institutional perspective, I can't help but feel that there is a spiritual compromise to our outward witness.
I know of one missionary that has been on the mission field and trains converts not to speak of their conversion for fear that they may be killed. Such teaching flies in the face of Christ teaching in 1 John 3 where he said "Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it." We meet other well seasoned workers at mission conventions that openly tout their success with potential supporters and talk about their "secret churches" yet deny other Christians and Missionaries access to fellowship "in country" due to " Security" - ( perhaps security of their unaccountability) .
Early on, Mercy Partners has placed transparency over security. We share our efforts, area of work, disappointments, struggles as well as our victories. Mission organizations, fellow missionaries, churches, and governments know our intention.
From the time we enter the country we share our ambition of Loving people into a relationship with Christ. This has had a powerful effect - can it cost a life? well I suppose so, but the martyrs were never vague about their intention. consider the following account published in Horizons:
"From relentless pressure sprang leaders, many of whom I was now surrounded by. Some seemingly bullet proof others sensitive and crushed. I had been living on the SPLA compound (Sudanese People’s Liberation Army) for seven days at the invitation of a governmental advisor who I met the week before in the neighboring country of Uganda Where I share Christ openly. My only Sudanese contact was an interpreter who fearfully abandoned the mission. It was obvious that Our Lord had provided special protection for me and I was there to provide hope to the SPLA as the clamor of war increased. One of the officers on the compound had turned to alcohol to dull the effects of war. He commanded “ Pray to the one who OWN’s YOU on behalf of our country I obeyed his command and prayed in the name of Jesus Christ. The seventh morning, the drunk officer I had prayed with the night before arrived at the compound gate still intoxicated, demanding entry to meet with me. Leaving his transport, he walked majestically to where I was seated, placed a young man before me and commanded "Meet your fellow angel!" - " You angels, You do your business, ..Me... I'm am a devil, I will do my business over here!" he sat from a distance and dug in for another swig of whiskey."
Would a divine appointment be sacrificed for security if our officer friend had not known my intention?
Over and over, preachers, professors and mission organizations publicly urge us to take a stand for Christ! - He gave His Life that we may Live for Him! - Yet, privately hung up on longevity, insurance, security and health while sacrificing the witnessing hope of a God that believed in us so much that he willfully and publicly gave his son.