I think sometimes we forget what our missionary friends actually go through–to get to where they are….I’ve been guilty myself. Until this past week. Whammie reminders.
We had a great planning trip for next years trip to minister and build in Bolivia! And I feel like this just might be the best trip yet! (I know you just said, “she said that last year”)….it’s true…this could really be IT!
We met at the school in the village where we will be building a church–less than a mile away! So many opportunities to sow seeds for Christ! But let me back up before we get to that day…and tell you about some of the “tough stuff” of ministry on the mission field.
If you have kept up with us, you may be aware that we are in the “processing stage” for full time missions in Bolivia– we met with the missionaries who will be supervising us–and they are a great couple! Fluent in Spanish…and the culture…. and I’m reminded again of all the things we “don’t know” yet. It’s all a learning process, and every single missionary goes through this.
I had a thought before we left for this one though, wondering kind of to myself if we would get a “real feel” for what it would be like….and yes, I think in some ways we did. I mentioned “information overload” in a facebook post the other day–and I was trying to take in all my surroundings the words spoken (in English) and wishing for a notebook to write things down in! I had even left my list of questions at home…
Church service was great, the people so kind to us–every single time we go! We visited an area where we will be doing a lot of work, and on another day we also visited a tourist attraction, something we have never done before. This was the day it all seemed to collide in my head and heart. The place we visited was some of the Inca Ruins on a mountain in the town of Samaipata. I will be honest–the history of the place and the feeling there– was incredibly heavy to my spirit and I felt “creeped” out by details of what happened there–and by what I felt in my spirit. It was almost too much. As a matter of fact, as I climbed the mountain –leaning forward with a heavy load on my back, my heart became just as heavy. I was at several points breathing heavy due to the load I carried and my mind was working, not just overtime–but “triple-time”. I wasn’t even sure I would ever tell the details about the day.
Our friend and guide shared the history, as well as “current” happenings in the area–which also creeped me out and I began to pray in my spirit–and I tried to sing….I was trying to do anything to get my mind off of where I was, what ground I was walking on, and what forces were at work in the atmosphere.
As we left that day, and lunched down in the town, the thoughts kept coming of the people in the town–the people in the surrounding mountains and wondered what it must be like for them on a daily basis. I scanned for a familiar church sign. Few. So few I think I only counted one. Maybe two–but that might be a stretch.
Let’s fast forward to the night time. For two nights I slept very little. The first couple of nights it was just jet-lag and information overload. The night we returned from the mountain excursion, it was so much heaviness in my spirit.
Something our missionary supervisors said to us on Sunday: “Whatever weakness you have is intensified on the field.” I began to wonder at my weaknesses. I think the biggest thing that plagued me was the fact I wasn’t sure I would sufficiently learn the language. I pray and pray and hope with all my heart that I can carry on conversations and build relationships with the ladies and children and learn from them as I desire to teach them things that I know as well–but I kept getting slammed with all the facts of how I have to study study study to learn–it doesn’t come easy for me–it’s big time work. So my insecurity came floating to the top. “You’re not “this”–or “that”….”Perhaps you are too old”…. I am not kidding when I say that I tried for hours it seems to go to sleep. My mind was being attacked with such force–and I was trying in all of it to pray. I wanted to shout at Jeff, wake UP and pray for me…I can’t go to sleep! But of course, I’ve never ever shouted at him–and I wouldn’t wake him up unless I was sick…. and I wasn’t sick.
There have been times when at home I would wake in the middle of the night and have someone on my mind–and I would know almost instinctively, they need prayer. So I would pray. There have been other times when no name came, but I prayed anyway–and it was for me or us that I needed the extra prayer in the next few days.
The day we went to the mountains and everything got so rough for me–I have a dear friend in Florida who messaged me that evening, asking if we were okay. She said that all throughout the day we had kept coming to her mind….OH MY GOODNESS! I told her briefly of some of the things, and GOD was so spot on with sending me a timely prayer warrior! Did YOU know He did that? I did. And it was so good to know we were not forgotten, nor were we alone!
I believe I saw in those few days the joys as well as the times of trial and stress that happens for missionaries, not that I’ve seen it all–because I know I haven’t. But I peeked in the window. And I have to confess….there were days that my little house and my little life dangled like a carrot in front of my vision when I was trying to pray….THEN there would flash that little one with the big needs in her life. Or the little boy at the school that just wanted me to take his picture–because he had very little attention…. or those who have never been to a church, and never heard the Gospel, and didn’t know about Jesus and how He came and died so that she/he might live…
I couldn’t hang back and decline the call of God on our lives for anything. I feel with even MORE urgency that God has assigned us this country–and a particular area–and the 8 schools and “counting” who have opened their doors to us to come in whenever we can and minister and share what and Who we have. We share JESUS. THEY need JESUS. I don’t want to Americanize them…. They don’t need what we have. It’s not “things” that will save them….It’s only Him.
I encourage you to go on a mission trip if you’ve never been. I encourage you to get out of your box and see how others live–see what they see on a daily basis–just for a week. See if that doesn’t change your perspective on things a bit…. don’t be afraid….and even if you are afraid…do it afraid. God may not ask you to rearrange your whole life—to move to another country– BUT He may speak more strongly than you’ve ever heard about what you are to be doing right where you are….
And friend? When you wake up in the middle of the night….can I ask you to pray? Pray for us. Pray for all those who leave family, home and friends to live in a strange land among a people they love without even knowing quite how it happened…it just happened…
We all need to wake UP and pray. More.
That’s it for tonight. If we were sitting together, drinking a coffee or something, I might be tempted to keep talking…but we aren’t…and I haven’t caught up on rest–or housework–or anything else yet. 🙂
I’ll share more pictures and a few more thoughts as they return to my busy mind. Until then, “pray”. And keep on praying. Without ceasing. That’s what will get us through to the next steps that God has for each of us.