Contrary to popular belief, I have not fallen off the face of the planet. I just came back home to Honduras. And since we have teams almost every single day this summer I have been a little busy. But all is well in Emmanuel and God is great to us.
With that being said I wanted to address a post that blew around Twitter and Facebook lately. It was a post by Adam Mosley Called “10 Things Missionaries won’t tell you” It blew up so big he had to shut down his blogpage temporarily and use another. The original post is here: http://www.trinitykenya.com/10-things-missionaries-wont-tell/ Please take a minute to read through his post so you have appropriate context for my comments below.
I wanted to address a few things to those of you who know me or other missionaries. We don’t all feel just like him. But sometimes we do a bit. Please don’t assume he speaks for all of us. I know he doesn’t fully speak for me.
1. THEY DON’T HAVE THE TIME OR ENERGY TO WRITE…BUT THEY DO IT FOR YOU
I often feel like I have disappointed many of you because I haven’t written on the blog or posted an email to my supporters. But I don’t write because I feel obligated. I write because I want to share what God is doing in my life. With the kids, in my heart and to share the good and hard so that you can pray. And for those of you who financially support me I want to see what your investment is doing in lives on this side of heaven. And I often find it difficult to summarize time around here, but I never dread it, because it is sharing what our Father is doing in this world. And some days it is hilarious and wonderful and somedays it is heart breaking. Those things are often hard to put in print.
2. FACEBOOK “LIKES” DON’T PAY THE BILLS
3. THEY ASK FOR MONEY BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO CHOICE
I will address these two together. At times it is difficult not to focus on the financial aspects of being a “self supported” missionary. The need to rely on individuals and not an organization to send a set paycheck each month. However, for me I consistently try to trust the Lord to provide for my needs. And He does. Although some days when people say things on facebook or wherever the human fleshly not trusting side wants to say “put your money where your mouth is” But that is a judgment from me. Often times the people who don’t send a check are ones who pray a lot and even ask others to give or pray for me. So it’s not always about the dollars. And the Lord is faithful, when I need the money it comes. When He tells me to share a need I have that is financial, I do. I never feel I have no choice. It’s not up to me. If He wants me here, He will enable me financially to stay here. And I know it is a joy for me to be able to financially partner with people serving in places I couldn’t serve. Eternal impact with physical blessings we have received.
4.YOU’LL NEVER HEAR ABOUT THEIR WORST DAYS.
I had to laugh at this a bit. The Missionary according to Adam says “This has been a challenging week.” So true. But isn’t this what everyone does? Who really shares via email to a group of people or on a blog post about their worst days? Why do we expect missionaries to?
I am often hesitant to share about my “worst days” because it is hard to summarize the events that happen that create difficulty here. It’s hard to frame the context of those events. It’s hard to share in a way that you would really understand. It’s not that I think you will try to talk me out of being here. Or I am afraid to share but often just don’t know how. I typically share these things in person or on the phone. Some days I just need to end the day on my knees to set it down at the feet of the Father who knows what is going on and has the plan anyway.
I do have people that I communicate with on the really hard days that remind me of truth and keep me grounded in the word and the character of the Father. And sometimes I just need to vocally decompress and just say “Today was hard. Or it just really stunk.” Then hand it over to the Lord and do what He says to do with the next day or moments.
5. THEY NEED A VACATION…BUT WON’T TELL YOU IF THEY TAKE ONE
7. “GOING HOME” IS A LOT OF WORK.
I’m going to comment on both of these together.
Because people send missionaries like myself money to live on I know it is often difficult to feel the freedom to do something that sounds selfish like take a vacation or buy a plane ticket to somewhere nice to get away. However I have never had one person fault me for doing something that is refreshing and restoring to my soul. I have never heard anyone speak ill of another missionary for doing so. The only time I have heard of such was a family that posted more about vacation time than work time. From their blog post it was never clear that they actually did any work. (I am still unsure what they ACTUALLY do! Haha And it’s not because they cannot share for safety reasons.)
It is sort of work to go home.
Right now for me I have to leave Honduras every 4 months. That means leaving my coworkers with my work load and feeling guilty for that. Then feeling the SELF IMPOSED obligation to see as many friends and family and supporters as I can when I am home. I often feel guilty if I have been in the states and not seen some of you in some form or fashion. However I never have been made to feel guilty by anyone.
It is hard to be away from my kids. To try to share what has been going on here. To try to share what I need prayers for. To share the bigness of what God is often doing here or I pray will be doing. To travel here and there and be on the road and in the air.
But in this struggle I see the Lord. I see community. I see how He is working and growing me and my kids. And although it can be tiring it is a blessing because I WANT to see you all. To hear about YOUR life (my life often is all I think and hear about!) To hear what God is doing in YOUR life.
I am thankful that many of you know that sometimes I just want to go to the beach or lake, or spend a day chilling with a friend somewhere kinda alone. And I am thankful that many times you all bless me with free trips or places to recharge and just be loved on without obligation. I am overwhelmed by God’s goodness to me through you.
6. HOSTING TEAMS IS A NIGHTMARE
I cannot say that I agree with this. However there are individuals sometimes that come with set things they will do to bless us or the kids that create more problems than good. But every missionary and organization has different needs and expectations for teams. Some are not like us and don’t regularly have teams and open communication. I am not afraid to let someone know that the idea they have may leave negative effects or be counterproductive. But if you desire to take a team somewhere please insist that the country partner be honest with you about what they NEED and be honest if you can fit that need. Perhaps you cannot. Perhaps your funds would be better used not on a plane ticket, bus, and lodging but paying for food, clothes, or other needed things for that organization.
I personally love teams because I can challenge them with the word and thinking outside of the parameters they may be thinking to see a larger context to their service and future service to the Lord, whether at their hometown, nationally, or globally. Is it difficult so sometimes be continually teaching the same lessons but to different people or groups? Yes. But I find Jesus said a lot of the same things to folks during his ministry. So I'm just going to keep going and challenging people to be like Him.
8.IT’S EASY FOR GOD TO TAKE A BACK SEAT IN THEIR LIFE.
Reading Adam talk about this broke my heart for him. It makes me realize the context of some of what he says comes out of this.
Missionaries are people. And people often forget that the priority is time with the Father and in His word. Out of this time is the wisdom, energy, and fruit in which we live our lives. We don’t take the time we need then we often operate out of the wisdom, energy, and fruit that WE possess. And that doesn’t cut it. My prayer for Adam and every Christian is time grounded in the truth (That’s the bible yall) so we can be filled up overflowing types. I say this knowing that time in the word doesn’t make us perfect or everyday full of rainbows but it SURE does change the context with which we live and view our days. That our work would delay for a few minutes so we can take the time we need with the Father first. I have a friend that will ask "How is your time with the Father?" and it is often because I am being overly grumpy, or judgemental or negative and I haven't spent adequate time with Him and my view and heart is not in the right place.
9. IT’S HARD TO TRUST PEOPLE
This also hurts my heart for Adam. But I know it’s true. Somehow as missionaries we are considered persons to share every detail of our lives suddenly and trust anyone who approaches us to partner with our organization. On a personal level to find people we can be honest with about the ugly of life.
It’s hard to have people disappoint us. Christians and brothers or sisters in Christ especially. I pray that Adam and other missionaries who have experienced the level of broken trust he has can have this repaired and healed by the Lord and Adam would find trustworthy partners and people who can walk with him.
I am grateful to have such a great variety of supporters that I know pray for me. And here at Emmanuel to have coworkers who are trying to do the best for the kids and the Lord. Do they disappoint? Yes Do we disagree? Yes. But we are after all human. So I pray for Godly wisdom for those moments and situations and walk on.
I am grateful also for the people who I know have my back and my heart. Who challenge me when I am stupid, selfish, or just wrong. Those who point to scripture to be the standard and guide. And that pray with me and for me. Not just saying they are praying but actually sharing WHAT they are praying. People who aren't afraid to share their lives with me that we can struggle to be more like Him together. And get in each others faces with the truth to leave a conversation changed.
10. THEY ARE LONELY.
This point, like point #8 makes my heart hurt for Adam. He acknowledges that it comes from neglecting time with God and giving up on people… of course he feels lonely.
We all do. Don’t we?
One of my biggest fears in coming here is that I would be forgotten. That people who I love back home would have events and activities in life that I would miss and never even mention it to me. That they wouldn’t miss me at those times. Holidays, celebrations, dinners together. That I would be forgotten in their prayers.
I have to surrender this to the Father time and again. I will miss events. I will miss holidays with people in the states. This is what He has called me to. But THEY will miss the blessing that events here can be. Time with my friends here and the kids I love. Too often we only see what we DON’T have. Not what we have been given.
I am not going to lie…My heart leaps when someone emails me, sends actual mail through the container or someone coming down, sends a text, photo or video just because. Or when they share that the Lord had them pray something specific for me. Or just to remind me of a simple truth. I LOVE hearing about YOUR life and what you are up to. It not only makes me feel not so “alone” but also reminds me life isn’t just about Honduras and Emmanuel! Haha
But I am often reminded I am never guaranteed to be remembered. Or not alone. Or healthy. Or whatever physical thing we think we need. I continually read in scripture the promises that when we speak Christ and Him crucified, resurrected and living that we will have problems from the world. That John 16:33 says we WILL have trouble. But I can take heart because he has OVERCOME the world. That the eternal world coming will never hold tears. And because I am the bride of Christ…I know I honestly am never ALONE.
In summary I will close with this. Let’s just be the body of Christ to one another. When we think of someone in prayer- tell em. When we think we ought to share something with someone, a word, money, a hug, a joke, a card, a physical possession- share it. When someone needs a minute to talk or pray- give it to them. If we want to be like the Acts 2 church- then lets be the Acts 2 church. (Added later: And let's be real when we need something. It's not honoring to Christ to do things in our own strength when He has it in the plan to use someone in our walk. Let us share real life. Because Jesus shows up when we are real with one another)
We are all on a mission in Christ. Some just are further away, speak another language, and are seemingly more out of their comfort zone. But I bet if you looked He can use us all for eternal things daily. So let’s encourage one another with the word to Be His. And do His work.
Grateful and blessed by Him through each of you. Let’s keep after the prize. Him.