A few weeks ago I was chatting to a friend on skype when they mentioned that they could hear the sound of gunfire and looting in the street outside while they were typing.
When I was a student, one of my friends had a poster on her wall that said “every day with Jesus is a happy day!”. I sometimes wonder where me and my colleagues have gone wrong!
As I mentioned yesterday, at one time or another every member of our family suffered from malaria during our time in Ivory Coast. I defy anyone to feel happy when they have a malaria headache, a raging fever and a severe bout of d&v; it’s even worse, when you have to watch your kids suffer from the same thing.
Mind you, other friends and colleagues have had tougher times. I know people who have been (unfairly) dragged through the courts in a foreign country, mugged in the street, robbed with violence in their own homes and the list goes on. Some friends have lost children to tropical diseases and others have lost their own lives to disease, violence or accident. In all of these cases it was because people had put themselves in harm’s way because they were following Jesus.
Yes, Jesus has promised to be with us in all circumstances and he is; but it’s tough. We grow through experiencing hardship; but it’s tough. God blesses us as we are obedient to him; but it’s tough. God promises us peace and contentment; but it’s tough. We have to learn to rejoice in all circumstances – and we do; but it’s tough.
Every day a happy day? Not quite.
Of course, not all cross-cultural missionaries face disease, violence and death; some live relatively peaceful lives, often in idyllic situations. Even so, living far from home and having to operate in a different language and culture is far more stressful than most people at home realise.
If you are looking for excitement and variety; them cross-cultural mission work might be for you. If you love the idea of making amazing friends from around the world, then give it a thought. If you are excited about seeing God at work and joining him on his mission, then go for it.
If you aren’t prepared to take the tough stuff: find another career.
Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.”