Describing what it’s like to serve on the mission field is seldom easy. Most missionaries don’t even try to communicate what goes through their minds when they’re really discouraged. But that’s exactly what Julie Rumph does in this refreshingly honest reflection about ministry in South Africa.
Whether in life or in ministry, some days are harder than others.
Today was one of those days.
I sit here with a heavy heart, praying that God has some master design to make our present adversities His future glory.
I find myself here more often than I let you know.
Not that I dwell in this place, but I visit often.
It comes from living in a part of the world where the everyday is a little different.
Heartaches and disappointments come more often to everyone here than in the suburban American life.
What was very difficult my first year or so has become the new normal.
And how do I communicate that new normal?
–When part of my new everyday life is, “where are the good stories to report back to those who financially support and encourage me”?
–When it’s an anecdote from someone I may never see again.
–When it’s a story or an incident about a friend, a colleague, or someone I share life with–how would I dare to betray their trust by passing it on through cyberspace to others?
–When I am face to face with them and feel their hurts and see their tears?
–When I want to share something about someone who’s not a friend, but I know that without giving details about the context, it just wouldn’t translate and be understood by those living in the U.S.?
–When I know that whoever reads what I’ve written will compare it to some part of their life in the U.S. that isn’t vaguely similar to it, but it’s the only way they are able to relate to it?
–When the thought of that comparison alone makes you want to cry because it truly doesn’t compare?
How do I communicate to the people who are supposed to be praying for me that I want all these prayers for myself because it’s sometimes a burden to carry other people’s burdens?
–When I feel like I’m a self, spoiled American for even thinking that?
–When I look around me and I don’t see so much of the poverty of materials, but instead, the daily slog of life; the consequences of past actions; the marriages in trouble; the kids who are lost; the absolute darkness in some; and the ones who had made it out of addiction but didn’t see anything beyond it and go back for lack of something better in their lives?
–When they are unable to see that God was/is there and they have worth?
–When I see all of that and feel so blessed and yet so ashamed for not falling on my face and giving thanks to the Lord for it every second of every day?
Instead, I end up talking about the oddities of grocery shopping or the theology of a broken pot because it really can’t be communicated.
Maybe someone wise and gifted with words could write a novel about it, but a blog isn’t enough space.
A blog can only describe, it can’t help you experience a life other than the one you know–and on days like today I struggle with trying to tell you how it feels.
I suspect most missionaries just keep quiet when they have a day like today–they don’t really write about the bad days, the hard days, the “un-Christian” days or the lack of faith days.
So here is a blog full of bad grammar and full of questions with no answers.
Sorry about that.
“And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, SO THAT the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Cor 12:9-10
God’s Power is Perfect IN, not IN SPITE OF:
Weaknesses, Mistakes, Inadequacies, Powerlessness, Failures, Insufficiencies, Human Frailties, Unworthiness, Ineptitude, and Inabilities.
God uses the weaknesses of my humanity to reveal the strength of His divinity.