The Yin & Yang of Missions
This last week we received some surprising news that Ruth’s sister & family (Jeremy, Beth Everson, & 4 kids) are living the mission field of Mexico. A quote that stood out to us from their newsletter was this:
“I have to tell you, though we try to update often and keep you informed as to what we are doing and how we are doing, it is difficult to adequately communicate all the stresses and pressures we experience at times. When we send you news of our ministry it is the ministry we have in focus and not our own struggles and trials. In hindsight, this may be a short-sighted approach to keeping you informed”.
With that in mind we would like to ‘open up’ and try to explain some of the hardships that many if not all missionaries face. Missionaries struggle with and often leave the mission field for reasons such as stress, finances, culture shock, burn out, relationship difficulties, non-agreements with leadership, depression, difficulties in children’s education, sickness, war or lack of safety, sadly the list goes on and on... In the case of Ruth’s sisters family it seems the Lord wanted them to experience missions first hand for a while, go through many trails, strengthen their faith and dependency on Himself and then redirect them to a new ministry back in NH. It just so happens that the pastor of our home church is resigning and honestly we don’t know of anyone better for the job then Jeremy. This news though has brought a mixture of feelings for us. We are happy and excited to see what the Lord has in store for them but to be honest there is a part of us that wishes it was us going home...
What we are trying to say is life on the mission field is HARD! Missionaries are on the front line of God’s army and there is a GREAT deceiver that often tells us we are worthless and should just go home. I don’t know if it’s because of a recent move or because of the holidays but the truth is Ruth and I have been talking and we have decided that we like living in the United States better then in Indonesia. Here, we will always be a foreigner and are looked at differently (when really, we just want to be normal). When we leave the house people around us stare, whisper and then laugh at us often, kids are often found staring into our windows, the food here is not food we would normally choose, and we miss all of you greatly. Please don’t think we are falling apart and buying plane tickets, but know that this is how life is here. We press on day by day because this is were we feel God’s wants us to be. Leadership has told us that the Talaibo tribal group needs about 10 years of ministry before being finished. Are plans are to see that work finished and brought to maturity in Christ, at that time maybe we will come home and help adjust our kids to life in America for a few years before they hit adulthood. What do you think? Are you willing to stand behind us for the next 10 years or so as we help build His church until we come home? We hope this update reads well in that our minds are going in a hundred directions as we write it! Always so much to say. :)
Just pray for perseverance, urgency, and that our skin will continue to grow thicker and that our heads and hearts wont grow hard as we press on day by day.
Missions is great, but it’s not all cake n’ ice cream.
~Ben, Ruth, Chloe, Gwen, Addie, & Baby in Belly