Currently, I am reading a book that a church friend sent me called These Strange Ashes by Elizabeth Elliot. In this book she shares the faith lessons from her first year as a missionary. The first few chapters so far have been talking about one of the stops she and her friend took before their final destination to mission to the Colorado Indians in South America. The description of the missionary family's house that they stayed in is, to my spoiled, North American eyes, appalling. It is dark, dank, surrounded by feces and smells that I am rather thankful to say I've never had to experience before. To be honest it made me feel like a spoiled missionary. I live in an apartment with running water, electricity, a washing machine, and clean furniture. (Not to mention a Starbucks at the local mall). But what I appreciated about Elliot's description was her honesty.
I wanted to get out of this place. The depression it brought me made e feel guilty, for I thought at the time that the ugliness and squalor and lack of privacy were sacrifices appropriate for a servant of the lord. If I did not like the atmosphere it must mean that I was not yet prepared to lay down my life s I had promised.
I don't know what conclusions she comes to at the end of the book yet, but it is a comfort to hear such a strong woman of faith being honest about her reaction to this sort of situation. I'm excited to learn about how God grew her and prepared her for future mission work and I hope He is doing the same in my life. For now I will rest in the fact that you don't have to go to a foreign country or live in squalor to be a missionary. Each of us have different mission fields whether it's in the US (which is just as lost as the rest of the world), Africa, or South America. What God calls us to do is to "make disciples of the nations". Pray for opportunities and do not be afraid. God will give you the words when the time comes.
Final note from Elliot:
"'And God saw that it was good.' Was it possible that E.T. and his wife [The missionary family] saw their way of living as good? It was possible indeed. Perhaps they really liked it. Perhaps, on the other hand, they chose this way as appropriate to a bondslave of Jesus Christ. They worked in a "dark" place - a place without the light of Christ - and they were willing to live in darkness."