Encouragement from our missionary Tim

I do not claim to be a great writer or a great Christian.  As such, I feel I have little right to this blog.

But somehow, by no chance, I find myself both writing this post and living in one of the more remote parts of the world.  In the latter, I seek to serve God’s purpose through small faith and much confusion.

I spent four and a half years romanticizing working overseas and realizing that dream these first few months in-country has come as somewhat of a shock.  As I write, I’m sitting on the roof of my apartment building, six stories above the city and two stories above any other building.  Houses span the scope of my vision anywhere I look and beyond that are rolling mountains tinged with summer green.  Looking across the rooftops, my mind tries vainly to acknowledge that nearly every single house here is representative of an entire family that does not know Jesus.

When I came to this far-flung city of twenty-seven thousand, I had ideas of heaven on Earth.  I’d wanted this for so long that I had worked it into my mind that I’d be speaking a new language fluently and bringing the Kingdom powerfully in just a few months.  But the work moves more slowly and proves to have more challenges than I allowed myself to anticipate in the months prior to my departure.  Relationships are just as challenging here as they were in the States.  I struggle to remain focused on my mission.  And sometimes, I find myself wondering if in coming here any good can be done at all.

Did Jesus ask the same question when He traded His life for mine?  Is there any sacrifice too great, that I should withhold it from Him?

While there are days filled with joy and belonging and purpose, others are harder, with much self-denial.  I’m learning now more than ever that the Christian walk is made up of many instances of abstinence.  I’m learning daily, hourly, and even every five minutes to deny my flesh as never before and submit myself to Jesus.  He is the rock and the shield of refuge.  That does not mean all hardship will pass by, but it does mean that as tidal waves of sin and emotional baggage and hardship bombard by the minute, He holds fast.

Whatever we face in life, be it in the far corners of the world or the middle of the suburbs of America, we are called to loving self-sacrifice and steadfastness before the Lord.  He, being the imprint of the invisible God who is Love, is worthy of all our trials.  When life greets us with pain, hardship, suffering, joy, peace, and blessing, the risen Jesus Christ is there to uphold us by His word.

Red Village, my prayer today is that we would remember that truth in good times and bad and, looking to the Author and Perfector of our faith, we would continue to run this race with endurance and passion.

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