This isn’t a short-term trip. I’ve been having to come to the grips with this over the past month. I’ve been involved with missions pretty much all of my Christian life. I know the joy and excitement of spending a focused week or two with good friends overseas faithfully serving God. It is wonderful to escape the busyness of life and seek wholeheartedly the will and purpose of God the creator. Short-term missions is fast paced.
Being a long-term missionary is very different, as I expected, but expecting something and actually being there are two very different experiences. Life has been slow…
Reality is that life has probably been normal paced, but it has felt slow, because I am used to the turbo charged tempo of short trips. I have felt unsettled the past week or two, and am just now starting to realize why.
Abby and I are here by the grace of God and the generosity of others. This is something we both take very seriously! I have been feeling like the pace of our life should match that of a short-term trip to provide a proper return on investment (as my business mind puts it). People are investing in the Kingdom through us and we should be doing the work.
My unsettled feeling has come because I have been listening to the lie that if our results are not as instantaneous as many short-term trips, then we are not doing a good job. I’ve lost sight of both all the wonderful things God has already done, and also of the foundation that is being built.
Abby and I have made many wonderful relationships and learned a lot about the culture here. We have been getting to know the students, and have been teaching them the Word of God. I have been working with the worship team, teaching them new songs, and also working with people on how to use business to create job opportunities. Abby is preparing scripture for a series of lessons on purity that we will teach the 8th grade students and has been doing an incredible job adjusting to life in Africa.
Probably the most importantly, tunajifunza kiswahili (we are learning Swahili). The significance of language really sunk in this past week. I had the blessing of leading a friend’s mother to the Lord I didn’t do much as others had already planted the seed of the gospel and watered it. God made it grow and I simply came to harvest.
She was in the hospital with a broken femur from a motorcycle accident. Her brother (our neighbor) is a pastor, so she knew about Jesus. I simply asked “if you would have died in the accident, would you have gone to heaven?” She responded that she was ready to accept Jesus, so I wanted to do some follow-up to make sure she fully understood the decision she was making. I quickly realized that although she understood a good amount of English, our communication was going poorly as she had a hard time comprehending the concepts.
Fortunately there was another pastor’s wife there to follow up with her in Swahili. God has perfect timing! Even though God can overcome any difficulty, it is still my responsibility to focus on learning Swahili. Even if it makes things feel slow and tedious, this is not a short-term missions trip…
This is a picture of my friend, Jackson, his grandmother, and his mom. Please pray for Jackson’s mother that her leg will heal quickly and that the power of the gospel will grow in her life!