While I've been posting pictures and stories to recap our recent vacation to visit family, my heart is being slowly torn to shreds.
It's been in this process for a while.
As a "home team missionary", people sometimes make assumptions about me/us. Yes, we've given up "other jobs" to come serve on staff with Gospel for Asia. Yes, we want to see the lost in Asia reached with the Gospel. Yes, as a family we are learning by taking part in prayer meetings and talking about reaching Asia.
But, I was asked in March during a support trip to Arizona "what's your biggest struggle right now?" I loved the question.
My answer is simple, "Maintaining a focus on Asia and reaching the lost while I live in suburban America."
Not to lessen the struggle of those in the office at all, but I think it's particularly hard given the circumstances of my life at this current moment. I'm primarily a mom to young children. I spend most of my days with my children home with me. I'm reading books, making meals, picking up toys, settling disputes, keeping house....
During the school year when Rylee is in school from 8-3 and Jenna and Asa are in preschool from 9-2 two days a week, I am able to be in the ministry office and take part more actively in our calling to reach Asia. But, most of my time is spent on the homefront, with my children, doing typical American mom tasks.
We have playdates with friends; we shop for groceries; we go to the library.
How do I maintain a focus on reaching the lost in Asia? I believe wholeheartedly that we are more effective in reaching the lost in Asia by serving here at the home office than if we tried to go and share the Gospel in villages in northern Asia. I know it. I'm not saying there's no place for Western missionaries there, but that's another talk for another time. I know we are right where we need to be. The struggle is to keep my heart focused!
I don't think the answer is simply being in the office more. I've talked to enough of the staff who are in the office all day, every day to know they struggle with the same things. Yes, their work is directly impacting Asia, but sometimes it's sealing envelopes to be sent out and it's easy to lose your focus when doing a repetitive task like working with paper.
So, how can I keep my heart focused?
Reading. Listening. Talking.
I need to be in the Word. I need to be reminded of God's call to reach the lost. It's what the whole Bible is all about! God's story of redemption for a people He created and loves. The whole world. Every single soul. He loves them and wants them to know Him. I know Him, so I must share!
Reading about what's really happening in the world. Sometimes I get info from blogs I read, but many times I waste this time and don't spend enough focus on the right things. I read things that, in the big picture of my life, don't matter. Who cares what my house looks like when there are women in Asia living on the streets begging with only the clothes on their back because their husband died and now they are blamed and cursed by their culture? Does it really matter if my family eats the most yummy meal when there are children across the world dying of liver failure because they are eating mud and rocks?
I've been reading about widows and children lately. My heart is being broken.
I just can't seem to justify the way I waste so much of my time.
Talking. I find that the more I share with others about what's happening in Asia or discuss it with others who have a heart to see real change, my heart is lifted. I see action happening. I see people sacrificing their own comforts for the sake of those who have greater needs. We need to give more...financially, yes, but I need to give more of my focused time.
I don't have to serve in the office to do that. I can be right where I'm at and have eternity stamped on my eyes and live as though my life is not my own.
It's my choice.
I'm just praying I will daily make the right one.
I've included links to two of the stories that have moved me significantly. Just recently I was also told about a documentary by PBS called "The Day My God Died" which focuses on forced prostitution in India. The reality of life for millions of women is something I can't fathom...and can no longer ignore.