My childhood was full of missionary heroes. I read about them, I studied them, I met them, I listened to them... I even idolized them. To me, as a young child, missionaries were bigger than life. Saints. Nearly perfect. They lived awesomely exciting lives and I wanted to be one!
So what do I think now that I am an adult woman who understands the world a little better and who is, after years of wanting, finally- a missionary?
Missionaries are not super heros. God never did grant me any super powers. He did give me a LOT of things (including power), but I have yet to stop a bullet, move things with my mind, or become invisible.
So, I thought today I would tell you what REAL missionaries are REALLY like.
They are busy. Sometimes they are too busy to take care of themselves, their family, or their friends. Sometimes they are so busy that they let important things drop.
They are cranky. Sometimes they snap at their children, sometimes they bad-mouth their friends. Sometimes they react badly to any and almost all situations.
They are scared. Sometimes missionaries don't want to step out on a limb. Sometimes they avoid talking to someone because they don't know what to say. Sometimes they don't volunteer for something because they are afraid of failure. Sometimes they don't share their faith because they are afraid of rejection. Sometimes they avoid using a long list of words for a year and a half in an effort to not humiliate themselves.
They are self-centered. Sometimes missionaries choose to watch television or play on the internet instead of doing a ministry that really needs to be done. Sometimes a missionary knows about a need and assumes someone else will take care of that need. Sometimes a missionary will eat the last cookie.
They are forgetful. They forgot to call you. They forgot to write you. They also may have forgotten your name. They most definitely forgot to say Happy Birthday. They may have even forgot to pray for you.
They are procrastinators. They will do it. It just won't be until tomorrow.
They are tired. They juggle a hundred balls, a thousand roles, and a million tasks.
They are weary. Sometimes missionaries forget where they get their strength from. Sometimes they rely on themselves so much that their soul gives out and they crumble inwards.
They carry a powerful burden. We have been told to carry the gospel to ALL people in ALL nations. Sometimes we fall under this burden because we forget that though the task is ours- the burden is not.
Missionaries are sinners.
Missionaries are saved.
They are so human and so without super power that sometimes it can become painful.
So, that is the real deal people. I bet it all sounded familiar didn't it? I bet it sounded like you, your spouse, and your friends.
Will you please pray for your missionaries today? Pray that God will continue to grow in them a character worthy of Christ's name. Pray that they will have REST. Not just rest of the body, but rest of the soul. Pray that God will grant them patience with co-workers, love for nationals, power to overcome fear, and the memory of a thousand computers.