"Be careful what you wish for 'cause you just might get it all. You just might get it all and then some you don't want"
I've not really been a big fan of the word "missionary" for myself over the past few years. I do not feel like it appropriately describes the life that I'm living. However, I have come to accept the fact that it is what I am by definition. But I also know that that word conjures certain ideas and traits in peoples' minds. Things like a perfectly balanced life...Always loving every moment of every day...building churches and schools...proselytizing...living an incredible adventure...never having a bad day...and the list goes on.
If that's the idea of what a missionary is and you don't want that idea ruined than please read no further.
Since the first time I set foot in Kenya in 2009 my deepest heart's desire was to come back and live here. In my head I thought that it would be a breeze. I'd have no trouble raising support and I'd be here and everything would always be happy and upbeat. Before going any further, let me say one thing very clearly. I love what I do. There's no way that I can trade any of it for anything. But...
I started noticing this when I had a short trip to the US in May. I probably noticed it to a smaller degree while I was home raising support 8 months ago. I went from this guy that people knew on campus at WCU to a guy who preferred to be in the background. I still do. I have no problem sharing myself with others but truly, I'm not the guy who wants to be in a spotlight anymore. I tried that life and it wasn't for me. When I left WCU it became easy to blend into the crowd more. When I started going to Providence Church I wanted nothing to do with leadership in any way. I was happy to do simple task like setting up chairs before a service. Somehow, for some reason, out of the blue I was asked to lead a ministry. I came to Kenya with a team and then came back alone a year later. Now, I live here. "you just might get it all and then some you don't want"...
I got everything I wanted in moving here. And then I got some I didn't expect. I guess I had this false concept that life here would always be easy. But here's the honest truth. It's not! There are kids I see coming from horrible situations. I give out meds on occasion. Do you know how difficult it is to give ARV's (HIV meds) to kids that are just beginning to walk? I see such poverty and destruction so often. I didn't expect that for some reason. And honestly, there are some days where I almost - almost - wish that I could just go back to the US and get a 9-5 job. Blend back into the background. Set up some chairs and live a quiet life that doesn't feel like it's on public display.
But that's not the life I've been given. Another part of this sone says:
"I'm not running from. No, I think you got me all wrong. I don't regret this life I chose for me."I'm not running from anything in my life. And I certainly do not regret this life at all. Even if there are some days where I wish I could go back to the US, I know that I can't. I've seen and experienced a life worth living for myself. It's hard, okay? That's the truth. But it's my life. It's what I've been called to do at this season of life. There's no way in the world that I could actually pack my stuff up and leave this place for good. I also lived the 9-5 life for a while. It killed me. Every day I'd go to work and I was killing myself because it wasn't what I was created for. Here, I get up in the morning and know that I'm where I belong. I go to bed at night feeling fulfilled - even in the difficult situations. I'm able to look past all of the crap that exists and see that God is good. I see the joy in the kids eyes. I see the hope that is here. I see a country plagued with corruption, disease and death. But I also see a country that is on the brink of major change. And I am honored to be here during that time.
I'd love to blend back into the crowd sometimes. But I also accept that my place right now is here sharing stories. It can feel hard and demanding at times. And there are times where I find it hard to "just be me". It's something that I need to work harder at. But, hey...I'm not perfect. But I know the One who is perfect. You see, I've realized that it's a choice. I can face these challenges alone or I can go to God with my heart. That's my choice. I love what I do. And I know that it's not me. On my own, I'd fall every time doing this. But I choose to lean into God during these times.
"I can't do this all on my own. No, I know, I'm no superman"