You can see it in your mind’s eye – the newly formed missionary team, getting ready to preach the gospel where it has never before preached in the history of the world. They excitedly pour over the maps of the area that they drove hours to acquire, filling in village names where they aren’t written on the map and trying to get their heads around where these people live. Thoughts fly through their heads – what might it look like to actually live in one of these villages? What are the people like? What do their lives look like? Where will we live? Where would be the most beneficial? Would it be one of the villages on the main road that would be easier to get to or one way off the beaten track? How do you even pronounce some of these names? The missionaries talk excitedly, swatting mosquitos, not caring that these are the mosquitos that give malaria, and grateful that tonight there is electricity. Late at night they decide they have to stop for the night, pray together, and head home to go to bed, excited for the adventure that lies before them.
I guess I am living the adventurer’s dream, since that’s exactly what we were doing the other night. However, when you’re in the middle of it, it doesn’t seem so idealized. My friend and co-worker Jen and I were sitting on her porch, then, when mosquitos got too bad, we decided to lie down on her living room floor instead. We had fun looking at the maps that we hadn’t even known had existed until a week beforehand. To us, it felt more like a fun night together as friends instead of the perhaps momentous occasion that it was. That can make it funny sometimes when I write to you like this, since I can make the same situation sound so very pristine or so very normal. It’s also sometimes hard, when I’m in the middle of it, to keep my eyes on the big picture and off of the hum-drum-ness of regular living. I think it’s one of those you-can’t-see-the-forest-because-of-the-trees types of thing. But it is amazing how God has chosen us, weak and ordinary vessels, to start to do something amazing.
Yes, we’ve looked at the maps. It appears as if our People group live in anywhere from 20-50 different villages. We don’t even have all their names, and we can’t find all the names that we do have on the map. But we know that God will lead us in His time.
Here’s a big prayer request for you – I’ll be traveling the months of November and December. Before that, I’ve been hoping to take day trips to visit as many of the different villages as possible. However, I’ve now been back in My Country for 2 months and I haven’t visited any villages yet. That could be because I’ve moved, Jen has come back, we’ve had overnight company, I’ve have 3 other out-of-town (church and NTM-related) trips, I’ve been working on getting ready for the PGA trip in November, we can’t travel because of the rain, etc. And it’s also because this is Africa and things don’t go as smoothly or as quickly here as they do in the US. So you could pray that God would open the doors in His timing for us to visit as many of these villages as possible before my trips. Thanks! I know that God answers prayers, so I’m looking forward to several trips in the next two months.