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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

.On Mission.

We are entering our fourth month here in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It is nothing and everything that I imagined it to be. It’s hard to know what and how to share life here. I want to be authentic and transparent, yet, at times transparency looks dangerously similar to complaining. As a newbie missionary being welcomed into this beautiful foreign country, I am sensitive about complaining about a culture that I am still getting the hang of. In all honesty, we have been welcomed and embraced here better than some foreigners are welcomed into our home country of America. So, I want to be respectful, and this silly, yet profound quote keeps swimming around in my head.

When the bull is in a strange country, it does not bellow. -Old Zulu proverb

At the same time, our life is far from glamorous, and most would be surprised to peek inside it and see how closely our mundane mimics your mundane. We are just doing life, living incarnationally, looking for ways to follow Jesus practically by loving and sharing the Good News with the people He places in our path, but we happen to be doing it across the ocean from many of you. And then there is also this silly myth that swirls around regarding missionaries, especially missionaries who sugar-coat life on the field. The myth that says missionaries are singled-out, special, elite, highly-talented, spiritual giant, super Christians. Well, I am here to blow that myth out of the water, because we are anything but that. Maybe there are missionaries who do fit that description, but we are not them, and most that I have met are not them. There is nothing super about us. We have fears and doubts and anxieties. We argue and bicker and make mistakes and messes. Some days are complete washes and we yell at our kids, worry too much, grumble and complain and wish for different circumstances. We are so very normal (or as normal as we can be). We are messy people who love Jesus just like you.

It is true that not every follower of Jesus is called to move overseas to live, but don’t let Satan fool you into thinking it is only the special ones that are called to be on mission. We are all given a mission field. Having moved here has actually opened my eyes wider to the fact that we had a mission field back home, the same as we have one here. God uses us all exactly where He places us when He places us, and no follower is more special because of what field God has placed him in. Each person is intimately equipped for the very place and time God has placed her in. For some that will be Africa or Asia, and for others it will be rural and suburban USA.

In just a few hours our calendars flip to a brand new year. It’s a fresh start to embrace the mission field that we each have been called to. Some are sent into the corporate business world, some into hospitals and medical clinics, some to villages in Africa, some to rock babies and cook meals and tend homes, some to churches and schools; no matter where you go this new year, you go, not just because it is your job or the rhythm of your life, you go because you are being sent to these very specific places by Jesus. You are being sent for this exact moment in time, and you are irreplaceable. That changes everything doesn’t it? No longer do we need to classify Christians into elitist groups, but rather we are unified as we realize that truly we all have a hand in building the Kingdom exactly where we are sent. The role of a missionary has been assigned to all of us who follow Jesus. So, this year, let’s tear down the silly pedestals and let’s throw ourselves into the field that we are sent to, supporting and encouraging one another, and their unique fields, along the way.

This is the day the Lord has made for me:

 This is the place the Lord has put me in...

 These are the people the Lord has given to me...

 Let me rejoice and be glad in them.


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