We tore down the first house we built on the field! I remember when it went up with extreme effort in May-Aug. 1977. It came down in 2 days, Dec 10-11 2012. My kids were toddlers when we moved into that house. We watched them walk through the door as teens and then as young adults. I hear their voices haunting me in the house. It held a lot of memories. But we tore it down and will move on. The second evening before dark after everybody else had gone to bathe, I sat on a bug eaten timber and drank cold coffee and thanked the Lord for all He had done there. There are some lessons to learn from that house. I want to put these things down so that we consider them and are not surprised when it happens again. It will happen again and again until the Lord comes again.
I have been asked on occasion, “What is the hardest thing about being a missionary?” After thought, I can say, it isn’t the snakes, and it isn’t the jungle, and it isn’t the language. The hardest thing about being a missionary is in the words of the Negro spiritual “I’m just a poor wayfaring stranger a travel’n through this world below”. We are forever moving! Forever strangers!
In this country we have moved from place to place. I can count in my mind something around 17 major and minor (short term) moves. This is not counting going back and forth between here and the US. For 12 years we lived in two locations – two complete household set ups – and I also know we are not the only ones to do this. This is a common missionary experience.
Paul stated it in 1Cor. 4:11 In the language of 16th century English, “no certain dwelling place”. All of us have what I sometimes call a “nesting instinct”. We want to have a certain dwelling place. I want to be able to plant plants and watch them grow. Constantly moving is one of the costs of being a missionary. We have to deny our “nesting instinct” in order to follow the Lord. Mat 16:24 “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself…” The writer of Hebrews clearly states this condition. Heb 11:13 By faith…they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. Peter talks about this aspect of the believers life and he calls us, “aliens and strangers in the world”. 1Pet 2:11
The second thing I thought about on that bug riddled beam brought tears to my eyes. We came with words of life for the people of that village. We learned their languages and way of life, made many friends, and doctored absolutely all of them but they rejected the real reason for us being there. Despite constant and repeated effort the majority of the community rejected the one and only way of salvation. They chose instead the wide road that leads to destruction. Some listened, understood and believed and most of those believers are already in heaven. After we came down river from there for the bi-monthly fellowship we were studying Acts 18:6. When the Jews of Corinth rejected the words of life, “Paul shook the dust from his clothes”. In tearing this house down, we in effect have shook the dust from our clothes. There will be people that reject the truth, but like Paul we move on and continue to teach in other places.
These are two things I thought about as I pondered the wreckage of our first home.