Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Missionary Roller Coaster

I think my wife and I both cried our first day in Africa. It was a big transition. We left our home in Murfreesboro, TN and now we were sleeping on a very hard mattress in Eldoret, Kenya. It was sinking in that it was going to be a very long time before we would see our family and friends again. Our first month in Africa was filled with a variety of obstacles. We had a child from the orphanage die the fifth day we were here in Eldoret. Also, we had 3 immigration officers come to our house and threaten to take us to jail, and we didn't even know we were doing anything illegal. Needless to say, it was scary. That is just some of the external things. Inwardly, we were dealing with all the emotional turmoil of leaving everything we knew and experiencing a whole lot of culture shock from living in a third world country. We had some incredibly low points...

Then of course, you can flip the coin. We were living our dream. We were serving in the country that we had dreamed of serving God in for 5 years before it had happened. God had provided the people and money in order to make our life in Kenya a reality. We were ministering to Kenyan Orphans every day and they were calling us Mommy and Daddy. It was, and still is, an amazing feeling. Also, I was starting to get a lot of invitations to preach in nearby churches. Invitations were coming in every week, and I don't even have a Bible degree. Also, we were able to start ministering in a nearby slum to over 20 single mother families that were all HIV+. I mean, obviously God was doing some amazing things. It was an incredible confidence booster. Some days we were walking around on Cloud 9...

One second we would be doing great, and the next we were doing awful. I don't know what it is, but being in a third world country multiplies your emotional mood swings. I realize I sound like a teenage girl now, but it's true. I am going to take a leap here and speak for all long-term missionaries. Once you become a missionary and move to a third world country, you are getting on the longest roller coaster ride of your life. It is up and down, up and down, up and down...

I do know one thing though. You have to be faithful and committed to what the Lord has called you to do. You have to have patience and endurance. This whole experience makes me think of what the Apostle Paul must have felt when he was on his missionary trips. I can't even imagine. Some days he was planting churches, performing miracles, and writing letters that we now know as part of the New Testament. Other days he was being put in prison, being stoned and left for dead, being whipped, and being shipwrecked. Paul experienced a lot of highs and a lot of lows, and all the way through it he kept staying true to what God had called him to do. He praised God in the good and the bad.

Regardless of where you are at, try to stay true to what God has called you to do. If you are a single mother with 5 children, then try to stay true to God's call on your life to raise your children. Your reward is great. If God has called you to be a missionary in Sudan, then stay true to that calling. If he has called you to work the typical "9 to 5" then stay true to that. Remain faithful to God in the high points and the low points. Continue to lift him up and praise him regardless of your circumstantial situation. Even if you are riding a roller coaster and experiencing something new every day with a lots of highs and lows, just remember, God is sitting right next to you.

Be blessed!

1 comment:

  1. I've learned that every life is a roller coaster and you hit the nail right on the head that it all boils down to staying true to His calling on our lives! Thanks for sharing this. Coming over from Hear it On Sunday link-up.