13 November 2007

Welcome to the Jungle – Part 5

The day before we left the US with one-way tickets to Uganda we went to the church of one of my favorite authors and preachers… Erwin McManus… he wasn’t there that day and we ended up watching a 2 year-old video of him preaching at a Promise Keepers event… I think God was trying to get me ready for a year of unexpected disappointments…

Now don’t get me wrong… we don’t regret moving to Uganda and the first year wasn’t all bad… but in my idealist mind I was expecting that everything would work out perfectly…

I was expecting to be a reformer… in one year I would train 400 pastors who each had a church of at least 50 people… which would mean that 20,000 lives would be impacted… which would then lead to nation wide change…

But there were a few things about missions and myself that I wasn’t aware of…

1. Where ever you go… you are there!

Many people… including myself… think that a change of scenery will change who they are…

The truth is that if you aren’t a reformer in the US you won’t be one in Africa… if you aren’t an evangelist at home you would be one abroad… and if you can’t dance to country don’t try dancing in another culture…

It’s like taking an unopened water bottle from the US to Africa and thinking it will taste different on a different continent… water is water…

Although I wouldn’t recommend our tap water unless you want to lose some weight…

The truth is many people don’t even travel as far as Africa to learn this lesson about themselves…

2. Transformation takes time…

There are hundreds of missionaries in Uganda and many have been here a long time…

Looking back I can clearly see my own arrogance in thinking that I had the answer for Uganda… like no one had ever tried to fix it before… and I thought that I could do it in a year…

It seems that when the rookies arrive they have all the answers… but it takes less than a year for them (or everyone but them) to see that they don’t…

The truth is that it takes a year just to figure out how to pay your bills, find your house at night, and figure out that you will always be an outsider looking in… the longer I’m here the more I see I don’t understand… and the answers for Uganda seem to become more complex…

The truth is that it I want to be a transformer I first need to understand who and what needs to be transformed… and the man in the mirror would have been the best place to start…

3. If it looks to good to be true… most likely it is...

The prosperity gospel… that God wants you to be wealthy and healthy… has never been believable to me. I’m more the type that believes in the gospel of ease… that if I’m at the right place at the right time and doing it "God's way" everything will be easy and get accomplished…

If the work of the gospel were easy… it would have been accomplished long ago…

If the work of the gospel were easy… there would be no need to count the cost…

4. God doesn’t need me… but I sure am glad that he will use me…

There are times I thought and still think that what I am doing is more important than it really is… the truth is that its more important what I think of God than what He thinks of me and what I do… because He already has me figured out…

Some times you get the feeling that if I accomplish my goal... like train 500 pastors... God going to get down on His knees and say "thanks I couldn't have done it without you!"…

I'm not going to hold my breathe waiting for that line anymore...

But when you pack it all, say goodbye and cross the globe sometimes you can get carried away with results and forget who you’re doing it all for and why your doing it at all…

3 comments:

KELLY said...

"Man in the Mirror" is a song by Michael Jackson, thank you for quoting him in your blog. :)

greg said...

quoting MJ ay? nice... well, just wanted to say as a young guy hoping to head across the globe i'm ridiculously encouraged by your blog. I'm so thankful that you share your trials with us, even just to know how we can pray for you. But even more so that I, and others like me, might just learn a thing or two, (or three or four ... or twenty) from an older brother. So know that you have been and are being used in incredible ways through this blog and that many of my classmates eagerly look forward to each new post. You and your family are a blessing man... all Praise to the King.

Jeremiah & Angela Main said...

Amen! Awesome insights, thanks for sharing so others can learn too!