I love missionary biographies, I think I have read almost all of the Christian heroes: then and now series. Filled with excitement of these great men and women on the front lines doing amazing things to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ among the nations.
But after having served overseas now for 4 years in two different countries, I realize that these great stories left out a whole lot. They left out the details of these missionaries day-to-day lives. They failed to include the mundane things they had to accomplish each day, and skipped right to the exciting things that probably were a result of years and years of service.
Because the life of the missionary is not as glamorous as these books make it out to be. There is still laundry, homework, groceries to buy and meals to be made. There is also all the time poured into others through Bible study and discipleship, that leaves you sometimes wondering if they really get it.
It is kind of like the beautiful mountains here in the Himalayas. We always hear about those who scaled these great summits, those who reached the top of Mt. Everest, but often we are left without knowledge of the work, sweat and tears it took for these to reach this height.
Most of the missionaries work is not done on the mountain tops. Those amazing times are rare and are a result of the work they did while in the valleys.
This I had to learn.
Because if we are all honest, when first arriving to a country, we have some misguided notion that we are going to see so many come to Christ, we are going to accomplish such wonderful things for the Lord. And when that doesn’t happen, we are left wondering why we came at all. We are left wondering what we are doing wrong.
When in fact, this is the reality. It takes years of hard work and training to be able to scale Mt. Everest, and often for the missionary it takes years of hard work and investing to be able to see grand results.
And that’s okay. Because just as God is in big stuff, He is also in the little stuff.
So to missionary out there who feels defeated and is wondering why they don’t seem to see any fruit from all their time and efforts… be encouraged… God is at work in both you and those whom you came to serve.
To the one about to strike out for the great unknown and can’t wait to see how God uses them… just know, often God has to teach you many lessons before He can really use you.
To the one on the mountain top right now, enjoy it. Relish it, because much time will be endured in the valley before you see it again.
And to the one in the valley… hang tight. God is at work, and He will allow you a glimpse of that mountain top if you just remain faithful to Him and His call.
Blessings from the Himalayas!