|Me on a boat on Lake Victoria.|
Sometimes I chuckle and am mystified by students' questions and comments...
"Do you dig (garden) there in America?" (They are surprised we grow our own food and don't import all of it.)
"At what age do your children finish school? I heard 15 or 16."
"I don't think mzungus (whites) need a Saviour - they're not sinners."
"I think Jesus was white and spoke English."
Then sometimes the questions get more personal. At times I get the feeling the young people I work with believe I am more than human, maybe more like an alien or a super-human, which of course, I am not. I want to boldly tell them - "I may look different than you, but I am very much human. I do have needs like you. I do have hurts like you. I do have disappointments like you."
They are surprised when I am not free of injuries, mistakes and mix-ups, and when I freely admit that yes, I am very much a sinner in need of a Savior (as are all "whites.")
Then there are the (mis)perceptions of me as a missionary (maybe by some of you)...
That I am at another, advanced level of Christian service and living. And because of that I "deserve" extra attention and special treatment.
I am not a super-Christian. I am not a super-missionary. I am not super anything.
I am not special because I live and work in a foreign country.
I am not as strong, brave or passion-driven as I would like to be. Nor am I as kind, loving, patient and gracious as I desperately need to be.
I am not as wise and careful with my time, money, and talents as I should be.
I am not free of selfishness, laziness, pride, lust, dishonesty, negativity, and the list goes on...
I am not free of besetting weaknesses and sins here on the mission field. If anything, they have only been magnified as other "comforts" and distractions are stripped away. I frequently don't like what I see in my "spiritual mirror."
I am not free of wishing for what I don't have, whether it be American chocolate or cheese, a husband and my own family, or an understanding friend's hug and a listening ear.
I am not without weaknesses (many of them).
I am not without need of consistent prayer, encouragement, correction, and exhortation.
I am not free of needing daily spiritual nourishment and significant time in my Father's presence.
I am definitely not a fully-sanctified saint, and for sure am not as far along in the process as I want to be.
I am a sinner, saved by massive amounts of grace, which I need moment by moment.
What are you? And what are you not?