A student asked me whether I thought it was a problem that we tend to place missionaries on pedestals. My answer was that indeed we do, but servants of the Lord ought to be models of the truth they proclaim. Paul was bold enough to say, "Be followers of me" (l Cor 4:16).
At the same time let us always remember that the "excellency of the power" (2 Cor 4:7 AV) is never ours but God's. It is foolish to imagine that the missionary, or whoever the hero is, is sinless. God uses sinners--there is no one else to use.
Pedestals are for statues. Usually statues commemorate people who have done something admirable. Is the deed worth imitating? Does it draw me out of myself, set my sights higher? Let me remember the Source of all strength ("The Lord is the strength of my life," says Ps 27:1 AV) and, cheered by the image of a human being in whom that strength was shown, follow his example.