Missionaries uncovered

Wilsons_2013 Posted by Rory Wilson on Sun, 09 Nov 2014 | 3 comments | Bookmark: digg this Post this to del.icio.us Post this to Facebook

In recent months I have had the privilege to be involved with various people as they have wrestled with issues, with life overseas and with their relationship with God. I have been reminded that we are God’s workmanship, still a work in progress. We have insecurities and fears to struggle with no matter what part of the planet we live and work on. Living in the, at times stressful, setting of another culture can more easily uncover such things.

What is your perception of a ‘missionary’?

A quirky eccentric person? Someone who always seems to be talking about God? Someone who dresses in an old fashioned way and wears sandals? An everyday ordinary person? Someone who strikes you as ‘holy’ whatever you may think that looks like?

I would say that in our own way we are all a bit quirky or eccentric – I think you have to be a little unusual to help you cope in a strange culture! It is enjoyable to acknowledge and accept that fact and then try to live in harmony in a small community. As for dress code…. have you seen my husband…?

Many people admire individuals who have gone to work abroad because they have taken a risk and there is a perception that they have sacrificed careers, big salaries and the comforts of modern day living and technology.

It can be difficult for people at home to relate to their Mission Partners, usually because a degree of time has passed between visits and there isn’t often time to get into the ‘nitty gritty’ of life with them. The Mission Partners fly in for a visit and share mostly the highlights of their recent term overseas. It is right and good to celebrate what God has been doing, to encourage supporters that God is answering their prayers and give accountability for how funds have been used. We don’t often share about our moments when we have a crisis of faith, backslide or when we wonder if we got it wrong and perhaps it was right for us to stay at home instead of work overseas.

We are all a work in progress and the selection committees send us out knowing that we are not perfect but confident that we have the potential to do more good than harm! The selection process does not however eradicate our old hurts, anxieties, poor coping strategies and yes wait for it – major character flaws, so we pack them with our other baggage as we go to work overseas. The stresses of learning to live and find ones place in a new culture can certainly bring out the good, the bad and the ugly in us.

Africa (and I am sure other developing countries) has a way of exposing our weaknesses and strengths and magnifying them which can be great and awful all at once. For example, I hear my doctor friends and husband bewailing the fact that they have just lost their temper with staff yet again, most times it is totally justifiable, but still… what kind of witness is it? In the same morning they will save a life or bring a new baby into the world after a difficult delivery or see someone come to faith.

We wonder what people in our churches at home would think if they had been there when we lost our temper; when we have our bad days and wish we were anywhere but here; when we have compromised; when we struggle in our faith. Would people understand our failings and humanness or would they be totally disillusioned? Despite the fact that we are living the dream of serving God overseas, we do feel responsible to our supporters and we fear letting you down by our conduct or the decisions that we make. We couldn’t be here day to day if it wasn’t for you holding us up in so many ways.

We do not see many souls coming to Christ daily. We are basically doing what we would do if we lived in Bangor – being a family, working, playing, worshiping and trying to be a witness for Christ as we go about our daily lives. Certainly there is more openness from people in Uganda to listen when you offer to share the Gospel, but even then I am shocked to acknowledge that I haven’t shared the Gospel with anyone on a one to one basis for a long long time! (Please don’t sack me CMSI!). (I hope that readers of this blog haven’t decided to stop supporting future soup lunches or missionary appeals!)

As we journey along together in partnership for the Lord and you get to know more of our character flaws and failings, please hang in there and keep praying for us, ‘confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you (us) will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.’ Phil 1:6

Comments

Jim C said Mon, 10 Nov 2014 10:31AM
That was really good to read, blessings in what you are doing, thank you
Paul Sayers said Mon, 24 Nov 2014 07:34PM
Excellent read as usual. Keep er lit!! You are doing such a fantastic job out there... for God. God Bless you all.
Susan Peterson said Sun, 30 Nov 2014 10:08PM
Hello to you all in kiwoko I'm now back at home in Wales after a wonderful opportunity to share in the life of the mission hospital. Will continue to tell the people I meet about the experience and hopefully encourage money support. Of course life can be challenging and people do fall out from time to time but the shared vision you all have to be build people up in Jesus name is wonderful to see. Thank you for having me to stay when I came with the Ugandan midwives Tricia is well Please give my best wishes to Christine in maternity and Sarah and staff in the midwifery school Sue Peterson

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