Few can apreciate and understand all of what takes place within the church planting process. It’s no ones fault, there’s just no way to truly apreciate it unless you’re out there doing it. With bible teaching, translation, literacy, and other such jobs standing in the forefront, we fail to even realize what our missionaries are doing behind the scenes as people knock on their doors from sun up to sun down for help in lifes most brutal and unfair areas. I’ll be honest, I still have a hard time relating with missionaries who live in remote tribal locations! To this day I’ve never spent a significant amount of time living in a tribal location where missionaries are involved in bringing God’s word to the unreached. That being said, the reality that that day is fast approaching has caused us to reflect on the task ahead. Never have we ever felt so unprepared as we do now! Don’t get me wrong, training is/was a necessary part of preparing us for a life of service among a remote people like this. But there’s no way to adequately describe what this sort of lifestyle is going to require of us.
It was easy to talk about teaching tribal people the gospel while we sat in an air conditioned classroom with lattés in our hands in the middle of the lake of the Ozarks. In fact, teaching tribal people didn’t even seem to be all that much of a concern in my mind, if I’m honest. Learn their language, develop bible lessons, teach them from Genesis to Revelation, and out pops a church! Sort of like an equation, right? Wrong. As we’re on the brink of completing our national language and culture study, the reality that we’ll be living with tribal people in the near future is becoming more and more real in our minds. Not only that, but now having experienced learning another language and culture, we’re more and more aware of what this is going to cost us. We keep thinking, “Wow, if learning Spanish and Paraguayan culture was hard, what’s ______ going to be like?” OR, “What’s it going to be like having to develop bible lessons in a language like that? What’s it going to be like to teach them the Word of God for the first time?”
“God, I’m inadequate for this! You’ve got the wrong guy!” (Paraphrase from Exodus 3:11a which says, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh…”)
“Surely I will be with you…” Exodus 3:12a
God has continually encouraged our hearts with passages like this, along with others like 2 Corinthians 3:4-6, which says, “Now we have such confidence in God through Christ. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as if it were coming from ourselves, but our adequacy if from God, who made us adequate to be servants of a new covenant…”
It’s passages from the Word of God that continue to impact our thinking in such a way that we can’t help but say, “God, you’re so much greater than us! You’re the real missionary! We have nothing to offer.” and we have no other option but to trust Him and be reminded of His continual faithfulness in our lives.
I don’t know what you’re overwhelmed with today, or what sorts of challenges that God has placed in your life. But what I do know is that He’s working for your transformation into the image of His Son (Romans 8:29), and that He desires your faithfulness to share the Gospel (Matthew 28:16-20). Let’s look to Him and be reminded of the fact that He’s the One who is ultimately doing this work. Our responsibility is to abide (John 15) and trust Him. Our God is greater than anything we’re facing today.