Monday, June 23, 2014

How Being a Missionary Has Changed My Life

How has my life changed since I became a missionary?

Some changes are obvious…like I live in a foreign country and speak a different language. I’m the only natural blonde woman for a hundred miles. And I’m considered tall for the first time in my life!

Other subtle changes:

  1. I’m a hoarder. Yep, that’s right. When I see something at the store that I want, I never trust it’ll be there tomorrow. And that’s why I have over 10 jars of Miracle Whip and 4 cans of cranberry sauce in my pantry.
  2. I stare at people’s mouths when they speak. Don’t let this intimidate you! But as I learn a third language, I’m always trying to decipher where the sounds are coming from…and so, I observe teeth, tongue and lip movements! You’d be amazed how many different sounds can come out of a mouth when the lips don’t even move!
  3. I always have a flashlight or candle and lighter within reach. Where we live, the electricity could go out at any minute, day or night. It’s not fun to be stranded, barefoot, and surrounded by Legos.
  4. I never go barefoot. In the States, I always walked around barefoot—in doors and out! I even ran to the mailbox in the snow without shoes. But not here! The risk of stepping on bugs (tarantulas, millipedes, etc) is just not worth it. And then of course, the old wives’ tales teach that if you go barefoot you’ll catch a cold…and it’s just not worth the argument.
  5. I relate a little too well to Laura Ingalls Wilder and Dr. Quinn. I’ve learned to bake bread, including hot dog buns, out of necessity. I use my ever-improving sewing skills to make curtains and little girl dresses or repair holey pants. And we often have to rely on our own medical know-how to diagnose the latest illness.

Women in Ministry

Sometimes I ponder the lives of my friends and loved ones…the impact they are making for Christ, furthering His kingdom. Most recently, I’ve been reminded of the impact of women in ministry.

 I think of my dear friend and former roommate Laura. I met her on the mission field in Mexico City 15 years ago! Today she is teaching English in a Muslim country in Northern Africa. She ministers to women as only another woman can.

Or a young lady named Rose who has a heart for missions. She travels to different locations to tell people about Jesus. And then she uses her photography and videography skills to tell the story to those back home…stories of missionaries, stories of Christians in other countries, and stories of the lost.

My sweet friend Aubrey gave two years of her life in South America. Although she had her heart set on Brazil, when that didn’t prove possible, she humbly agreed to go elsewhere and fill a need. A servant’s heart, a quick smile…not her will, but the Lord’s.

My friend Theresa devotes her days (and many nights, I’m sure) to bringing up a gaggle of boys and one little princess, to walk justly and love the Lord with all their hearts.

My sister-in-Christ, Rosa, just graduated as a nurse. Last summer, she stayed with us in our village so she could tell people about Jesus. With her bi-lingual language skills, nursing skills, and a heart for Jesus, she spent time on the front lines!

In our American society, we place few limitations on women who are obedient to God’s call to serve. And consequently, many women serve with their whole hearts. It doesn’t matter if they are married or single. It doesn’t matter how they style their hair, or if they have more than one ear-piercing per ear.

Unfortunately, where we live, we see many women who quickly become discouraged because they are struggling to find the balance between Biblical obedience and legalism imposed by the local church.

Please pray for Petri, a young single lady who desires to know the Lord and follow hard after Him.  Her desire is to finish her seminary studies and then allow God to use her wherever He leads. Currently, she lives in a small village and participates in her local Christian church. Unfortunately, because she wears pants instead of a skirt and has cut her hair, she has been asked to step down from any leadership role. She was told that she can’t reach the youth of community if she wears pants. Pray that Petri will find her identity as a Daughter of the Most High King and that she will not be discouraged by the words of man who try to limit her service.

Pray also for Blanca, a young mother who struggles to raise her son in the knowledge of the One True God. She lives in a village where she is the only believer.  Blanca’s husband, Daniel, works away from home and is not a believer. Praise the Lord that Blanca actively seeks the Lord and has a passion to tell others. Pray for Daniel and their son, Joshua, that they too will know the One True God. Pray that Blanca will continue to grow and that she will be encouraged to stand strong in the Truth.