I’m currently reading a missionary book. No, I will not tell you the name. Maybe later, but the name is not the point right now, I have other thoughts on the book that I will post later and THEN I will give you the name.
The point is that I was excited to read it because it had been recommended several times, and then dropped into podcast interviews enough times for me to have pretty high expectations. Apparently, it had been a book that had helped to shape many other missionaries and their ministries. In fact, it has been instrumental in the ministry movement that had helped Brett and me to shift our own mindset about missions, and church. So I cracked open the first chapter of this book with high expectations.
And then followed 14 chapters of life. I mean, sure I was expecting a few chapters to introduce us to the family, show us the “before we headed out to this foreign land” etc. but 14 chapters later and they were IN the country and everything. And “nothing” had happened. If anything it seemed like almost a travel book at this point! I’d heard funny anecdotes of them trying to navigate the market, the struggles of finding a place to live in a post-communist nation, language barriers and cultural misunderstandings being the “westerners” around. But I was weirdly annoyed. Where was the ministry stuff?!
I say weirdly, because I don’t think this is normally how I behave toward missionary stories! Why was I being so judgmental?
I think maybe because their life seemed so similar to mine right now. I too have dealt with almost all of the struggles they were facing to some extent or another. Minus the fact that we weren’t “officially” missionaries. Was I hoping for some secret key on how to reach a country for Jesus right from the start?
That’s when it hit me. This is the secret key.
For all of us.
Whether you’re in a foreign country or not, followers of Jesus ARE missionaries. Your country is not of this world, and yet we are here, trying to navigate the day-to-day of survival PLUS trying to be ambassadors for Jesus. So, is there a secret to being a “successful missionary”?
The secret is to be faithful. Faithful in your daily struggles. For these missionaries (and for me) it is navigating a place where they don’t even speak the same language, but for all of us, we are dealing with daily struggles of work and family. Yet the Lord smiles on our obedience. It is worth it. Worth the daily struggle for the work that He will do in and thru us.
What if someone wrote your missionary story? Would there be 14 (or more?!) chapters of the mundane to share? Probably. I know mine would. But we can pray and trust all the “daily drudgery” will be worth it in the end.
After 14 chapters revival hit. God shook a nation and entered a country that had previously been unreached (I plan to write more on this later). For now, I ask the Lord to help me in my own “14 chapters” and beg Him to send me my own chapter 15.