Letter from a Martyr – The Missionary Heart

John Piper shares the following letter from Karen Watson, a Southern Baptist missionary to Iraq who was killed on March 15, 2004. The letter was found after she was slain and was in an envelope marked: “Open in case of death.”

Dear Pastor Phil and Pastor Roger,

You should only be opening this in the event of death.

When God calls there are no regrets. I tried to share my heart with you as much as possible, my heart for the nations. I wasn’t called to a place; I was called to Him. To obey was my objective, to suffer was expected, His glory my reward, His glory my reward . . .

The missionary heart:

  • Cares more than some think is wise
  • Risks more than some think is safe
  • Dreams more than some think is practical
  • Expects more than some think is possible.

I was called not to comfort or to success but to obedience. . . .

There is no joy outside of knowing Jesus and serving Him. I love you two and my church family.

In His care,

Salaam, Karen

May Karen’s life, death and testimony inspire each of us to greater levels of prayer, sacrifice and service for our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. You can read Karen’s story along with others in the book Lives Given, Not Taken: 21st Century Southern Baptist Martyrs, by Erich Bridges and Jerry Rankin.


  1. Sharon Gamble says:

    Too often, we are only told how “happy” we will be if we come to Christ. We are also called, at times, to suffer. Thanks for sharing this, Ray. May all our hearts beat like Karen’s. We are called to serve Him. No matter what.

  2. Barrie says:

    Great Message Ray, thanks for sharing it.


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