Updated: Nov 22, 2019
I feel the sweat beading down my back as I rush around. Did I remember to put the ice cubes on the table? Do we have enough chairs? Yes. Maybe I can grab a few more.
As each guest arrives, I stop what I am doing, and greet them with a hearty "Como estas?" and kiss on the cheek. Eye contact. Linger.....and......okay.... I can go back to rushing about without trying to look like I'm rushing about.
Maribell appears in the kitchen with me and starts washing the dishes and tools used to prepare our snack. Lord thank you for Maribell!
The guests banter, not noticing my wet scalp as the beads of sweat have now accumulated and created a pool. I should sit down.
My body eases into the folding chair next to Joel and I take a breath. As the breath goes out I notice no one has cups in their hands. Shoot! How could I forget to put out the cups. Up again. God, I am not cut out for this! See?
I jump back up and grab the cups from the kitchen. I apologize to everyone. Wait. Am I supposed to serve the water? Is it rude to show them where it is, but not serve them individually? So many thoughts. Oh Lord, I hope this is right.
Have you ever sat down in a movie theater with your popcorn and drinks in hand only to ask "What movie are we seeing again?"
For almost a year and a half we joined a mission agency, went to seminars for preparation, raised support, and cast a vision of what God was sending us to do in a foreign place. Another year we spent studying Spanish, and in the off-time anticipation mounted as we set our eyes on the final destination.
During that time of vision-casting to our church, partners, supporters, friends, and family we honestly shared where we felt God was leading us...you know, the mission. Not just the place, but the what we would be doing. Having never actually lived in Colombia, and not joining a team of missionaries already carrying out a plan, imagine turning off all the lights and throwing a dart at a target....
This doesn't mean we didn't know who we were, and what our resumes had to offer. Being 36 years old, we had some life experience and were confident in our skill sets and God's call on our lives.
However, seven months in, it often feels like we've sat down to a movie we didn't even know was in the theaters. It isn't a bad movie, but its in 3D but we don't have our 3D glasses yet!
You see, we prepared and held out our hands with our top skills. We showed our mission agency and supporters what we already had to offer and give that could be useful. Joel, the CEO and fun guy. Angel, the missionary kid and ESL teacher.
But something unpredictable has happened.
God has asked us "What about those skills in your back pocket?"
"These old things?" we say as we hold out crumpled, dirty skills that haven't been used in a long while.
"Yes. Those. Hold those out for me."
When Jesus and the disciples faced a crowd of 5,000 hungry men plus women and children, Jesus tells his disciples: "You give them something to eat" Luke 9:13. They look around to find only five loaves and two fish. They gave what they had and what they didn't have to Jesus.
Jesus takes what we have and what we don't have. He blesses it, and multiplies it. In doing this, we surrender what we have and trust Him for a miracle. So often I feel completely inadequate and lacking. And Jesus reminds me to give it all to Him, and trust Him. For His glory, I don't have everything. In the process I always have a choice.
Will I offer what I have and don't have, and have faith?
Right now, the skill I don't have is hospitality. But that doesn't discount me for the task at hand. God miraculously gave us this house to have people over to know, love, and study the Bible with. What am I going to do with it? It is an opportunity. An opportunity to grow in my faith, and in my skills all for the glory of God.
#available #missions #missionary #stress #cultureshock #serving