Why Do Missionaries Travel Halfway Across the World When You Could Just Pray?

Georgia is a small country sandwiched between Eastern Europe and Western Asia. 

Before this, I knew it existed—but that was it. 

In October, I was asked to join a team to do a short ministry trip in Tbilisi, Georgia. 

Honestly, I just sat in the prayer room for five minutes, looked at a map, and said “sounds good”. 

But—Georgia is four flights from where I live. 

And in the back of my head, even when I arrived in Tbilisi in December—I kept wondering, why on earth am I going all this way? And for such a short amount of time? 

One icy morning, I stole a few moments to play piano. 

Within five minutes, this spontaneous chorus tumbled out.

I came all this way
To be with you
In the night,
And in the day
To be with you

That’s when I remembered John 17:24.

“Father, I desire that they may be with me where I am.”

It’s Jesus’ desperate prayer, the night before the Cross.

He simply wants to be with the people he loves.

He crossed the chasm of heaven and earth—to be with us. 

To be human. To feel what we feel. To laugh with us, to cry with us, to eat with us. To free us. To love us.

And I realized that’s what missionaries do. 

We cross oceans and continents to be with the people God loves—and to fall in love with them, too.

It seems a little unconventional. Why not just pray?

Oh, prayer always changes things—and we should never stop asking God to transform the nations.

But being there matters, too. 

It mattered, to walk the cobblestone streets first-hand and to hear the clatter of the metro. To taste the melted sulguni cheese and to hold a bouquet of chrysanthemums sold on a street corner. 

It mattered, to sing with young Georgians who are fiery for Jesus. To taste their zeal for their nation, for Central Asia, and for the Middle East—to see their generation saved and set free.

Yes, I could have stayed at home. Yes, God would have answered my prayers.

Many times, that’s what we’re called to do.

But we’re also called to go.
We’re called to see the answers to prayer, first-hand.

And that is a privilege I never want to overlook.

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”

-Mark 16:15

Kayla Norris
YWAM Kona