Surviving the Oppressive Days


People sometimes ask me what things are absolutely vital in missions.  Along with an extensive library, bible-study software, household items (dishes, pots, pans), and a laptop or computer I would add a fan and possibly an air conditioner.

This may not seem important at first, but many mission fields like St. Vincent  have an oppressive heat (it’s in the 80’s all year here).  The island breeze does help, but the wind isn’t usually strong enough to cool things inside the house on it’s own, so it’s necessary to run a fan almost all day.  I normally run mine all-night, then from 7:30 am till 6:00 in the evening if I’m home all day.

Though living in the Vincencian heat is challenging from time to time, with my trusty fan and air-conditioner for the extremely hot moments I’m able to live quite comfortably.

But then there are the oppressive days

Once or twice a month the power will go out for about five-hours (normally from 9:00 till 2:00).  Some people say these are blackouts because too much power is being used, but nobody knows for sure.  The important thing is during this time there’s no relief from the heat.

Yesterday the power went out about 11:00 and come back on at 2:30, while this as a shorter period it did a number on me physically, as well as emotionally.

Being in Barrouallie I’ve gotten into the habit of getting up early (usually before six) to enjoy the cool morning weather. This means by early afternoon I’m in need of a “power nap” so before getting lunch ready I usually turn on the air-conditioning in my bedroom, and after eating am able to take a rest in blessed coolness.

Yesterday morning I was struggling a little so at 11:30 I walked into the bedroom, shut the door, and turned on the air-conditioner

Nothing happened

I checked the connections hoping something wasn’t plugged in properly but already knew the power was out

And worst of all there would be power nap in the air-conditioning!

It’s probably of the Lord that I was teaching the children in Bible club about King Ahab and Naboth’s vineyard this week because I did my best Ahab impersonation throwing myself down on the bed and begging God for a few moments of air-conditioned coolness, then getting angry when it didn’t happen.

During the power outage I tried to be productive and obey the Lord after getting over my little temper tantrum…but it was an incredibly lazy 2 1/2 hours.  All I felt like doing was watching Netflix which of course wasn’t happening.  When the air-conditioning finally came on again I immediately thanked the Lord, and after a ten minute rest gladly threw myself into ministry.

Looking back on that moment last night I couldn’t help but notice how much my heart and attitude had been affected by the loss of a air-conditioned power nap (truthfully after a bit of a rest I would probably have had a better attitude).  It was incredibly convicting to realize just how much surroundings or comfort affect my obedience.

Every once in a while I believe that God brings  “oppressive days” into our lives where something we enjoy or rely on is taken away (fan, air-conditioning, internet).  He doesn’t do this to harm us, but show just how dependent we are on those things.  It’s true that working without internet or a fan isn’t fun or easy, but it IS POSSIBLE.  And as we obey in “harsh conditions” (I put this in quotes because living without a fan isn’t really suffering) the Lord draws us closer to Himself.

In a way yesterday was a test as God cancelled my power nap and I failed in spectacular fashion.  Thankfully the Gospel means my relationship with God is based on the finished work of Christ on the cross instead of works, and the next time an oppressive day comes I can face it confidently as His child.

Power nap or no power nap.


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