I love being a Missionary, serving God by proclaiming the Gospel in foreign Countries is one of the most fulfilling, and at the same time frightening things a person can do with their lives. That mixture of success and fear is why I like to define missions as “a mountaintop followed by a Viking funeral” Editors note: This refers to the Vikings habit of putting their dead on a raft and then burning it as the body went out to sea. Today it means giving up on an idea, or admitting it isn’t working.
Yesterday afternoon sixteen children visited my house on the way home from School. While this huge group was partly due to the fact that it was raining, most of them truly wanted to be there. After some juice, games, story, and an attempt at playing “the quiet game” I sent the kids home and spent about an hour teaching two of them computers.
This “mountaintop experience” was followed by two adults forgetting to come meet me for computer tutoring (again) and a painful reminder while I’m doing an awesome job of reaching the children of Barrouallie, my ministry with their parents needs lots of work.
A few hours later I sat on the porch drinking a cup of coffee while the rain poured down and placed those computer outreach plans on a funeral pyre, before sending them into the dark Vincentian night.
Now please don’t think I’m feeling sorry for myself or trying to gain pity. The truth is putting an end to those plans was a best thing I could have done. Early in ministry setbacks would be viewed as God’s way of saying “you need to work harder,” but experience (and inability to open closed doors) helps me hear God saying “there is a better way.”
Of course this doesn’t mean I run around with a gas can and torch looking for anything that can go up in a blaze of glory. Instead there is a willingness on my part to admit when a plan isn’t working.
That’s actually the hardest thing about walking away from a ministry…there’s always a part of me that feels like admitting things could be done better is also confessing I’m an utter failure. Of course this isn’t true in fact it shows a great deal of courage.
But that doesn’t make holding the match in your hand any easier
What does make it easier is the knowledge God is honored when we hold the precious things of life with an open hand so that He can take them whenever He wishes. And as a loving Father does He will always give us something better in return.
I’m not sure how the Lord will use me to reach the adults of Barrouallie. What I am sure of is He has a perfect plan, and that knowledge gives the strength to set my plans aflame.