Today is February's guest blog, by a Missionary Mum right here in Dodoma, Tanzania. Patricia is from New Zealand and first came to Dodoma to teach as a single lady. She is now an MAF wife to Thomas, an engineer from Northern Ireland (who went through the same training as Mark at MMS) and a mummy to Grace, Naomi's new best friend.
The McKelvey's are our next-door neighbours here in Dodoma and have been key in helping us settle in. Today Patricia writes some words of wisdom aimed at me and Mark ... but could be for anyone embarking on mission at home or overseas.
Several years ago this document was written by Anne Stoothoof (MAF US Alumna) and it was passed onto to the wider MAF community. When I first read it I was amazed how perceptive it is. At different times on our journey Thomas or/and I have realised we have fallen into one of these dangerous assumptions. I have a printed out copy that often lives above my computer.
Jenny and Mark have only been living next to me in Dodoma a week. Although I realise they have been on the journey for several years. It's quite a serious list but I hope it will help Mark and Jenny to be able to recognise these assumptions when they arise.
But may your honeymoon time as you start your life in Dodoma be a long one and I pray the creepy crawlers that you have met this week won't put you off.
SEVEN FALSE ASSUMPTIONS THAT WILL KILL YOUR JOY
1. If I go where God leads me, the people will love me
‘The servant is not greater than his Lord’ - John 13:16
If I do God’s will God will love me, though he loves me even if I do not.
2. I will be useful in every area I will attempt to serve
‘God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the things that are despised and thethings that are not … so that no one may boast before him’ - 1 Corinthians 1:27-29
Just because I came here, doesn’t mean every need is my responsibility to meet, nor that I will be able to meet all needs.
3. What I do will make a significant (noticeable, appreciated) difference
‘For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal’ - 2 Corinthians 4:18
I have to be willing to be faithful to do what God wants me to do, whether it is seen by others or not.
4. I will be adequate for the task
‘For when I am weak, then I am strong’ - 2 Corinthians 12:10
No matter how much I think I know, I need to know more about brokenness than about ability.
5. I will gain a sense of belonging - fitting in with ease
‘He will be despised and rejected of man, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief’ - Isaiah 53:3
While trying to bridge the language and culture barriers, I must still be willing to be rejected, and to love anyway.
6. If none or few of the above are true, I am a failure
‘Measuring yourselves by yourselves and comparing yourselves against yourselves, you become unwise’ - 2 Corinthians 10:12
No one is a failure who seeks the pleasure of God alone.
7. If all or some of the above are true, I am a success
‘God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of my Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me and I unto the world’ - Galatians 6:14
For whose sake am I trying to succeed? If I win all the cross-cultural crowns and forget the cross, I lose all.