a team problem

So to be in missions means you work with people. You have those that send you, those that work with you, and those to whom you minister. Any ministry involves people. Missions involves people of several cultures all together. Our cultural difference make it more difficult.

As a team we work to minister to a people group. But we have different modes and goals and different ideas to get the job done. This means that sometimes we will clash. But How we strive to work in unity is important. Scripture is clear that we should strive to keep the unity of the Spirit. So why do we tear each other apart? Why do we hold meetings on the side about this person or that person. Why do we gossip against our fellow workers.

How can we serve faithfully if we are not setting the same goals and working toward them together. But often each person has their own ministry goals and job. To have one person as a head of the mission is hard because we each have desire to dominate. So we must remain humble.

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Expectations

PersonThey’re coming! I have a team coming soon. They will have expectations of a missionary, of nationals, of ministry opportunities, food, hospitality, etc… How can I meet their expectations?

Oh, wait! I can’t.  Nor should I stress over that. I know that God will set new expectations for us all. He is the One that works in our hearts. He is the One that molds our expectations into His expectations.  God will change us all through this experience. He can work in me and in my guests. I pray to that end. I pray that they have a life-changing experience. I pray that I build up new support in this ministry. I pray that they will effectively reach their students. I pray that some of the things they teach will sink in and make an impact on the church here in Africa.

But wait! Once again I’ve stated my expectations. 

Lord, mold my expectations into Your expectations.

Short term teams

7873748So I strongly believe in short term missions.  Most of the missionaries I know became missionaries because of short term mission trips.  It is a life changing experience for the teams that come.  They should be challenged in their faith and encouraged in their walk with the Lord. They should also be motivated to serve the Lord whether at home or overseas.

Each year I host 2-3 teams.  It is a long journey to come from the other side of the world to the bush of Africa.  They raise a lot of money just for plane tickets.  There is also transport within the country to get to where I live.  Because it can take 4-5 days of travel one way, we want our guests to come for at least 3 weeks. Sadly the funds and length of stay prohibit many from visiting. 

But we still host many. I’m thankful for those whom the Lord brings my way.  Sometimes they are here to meet a specific need while other times they are hear to serve in general.  If it is a pastor or Bible teacher then we certainly plug them into preaching and teaching seminars for the local leaders who still need to better understand the Scriptures.  Some come with little skills and big hearts, others come with hard hearts and are fearful to try new things.  God works in each one.  Some visitors come and are a true blessing to me, others are pure work.

But how can I cope with hosting guests?  It means my schedule has to change, it means I need to travel in order to meet them at the airport and escort them into the bush.  It means I need to plan budgets, book hotels, taxis, safaris, bus and plane tickets.  It means I need to calculate the fuel costs for their stay here and the costs of certain ministries they may do.

This is  a lot of work. I often feel like a travel agent!  It also means other ministries I have must be set aside for a time while I host the team. It means I need to make sure everyone is healthy and eating well.  It means I play “mom”, “nurse”, “teacher”, “captain”, “translator”, and “tour guide”. 

I am happy to do it, but it is exhausting. I am an introvert.  How can I spend all the hours of my day with people? I live alone. How can I spend all my hours of the day with people?  I just want to hide in my room sometimes so that I can recharge. I want to watch my own videos without finding a group consensus. I want to spend time with my National friends without constantly translating and explaining culture. I want to know which cup in the kitchen is mine, bathe when I feel like it, wake up without planning what time breakfast will be, …  Sometimes I wish I were married so my spouse could entertain while I cook or bathe. 

I need to take time with the Lord. I need to budget alone time to recharge. I need to watch my frustration threshold as I am hosting.  But I truly am thankful for short term teams. I pray the Lord continues to enable them to come and learn and help out.