Last month marked the one year mark since I officially joined the Ransom team, and that called for some reflection. 😉 Hard to believe it’s been one year already. And what a ride it’s been. I know I’m only just beginning in the whole “missionary life training” school, but I still love to be able to look back and see some of the big lessons God had for me in that first year.
I don’t often share my journal entries in public, (and don’t plan to make it a habit) but this is one that might benefit others who are just starting out. And it’s always good reminders for me. Maybe putting it in a public place will serve as a good “memorial”. 🙂
THINGS I WOULD TELL MY FIRST YEAR MISSIONARY SELF
-First of all, Mel, don’t take yourself so seriously. 🙂 And don’t come down on yourself hard every time you make a mistake. Remember it’s okay to be in a learning curve and that God’s okay with you messing up sometimes. He sees your heart and He loves to redeem your “messes”. Don’t set yourself above Him by trying to redeem them yourself. Learn from mistakes and move on.
-Don’t think that you’re only serving God and being effective in ministry when your’re doing “big stuff.” Take what’s in front of you as what He is giving you for the day—a smile, a chat with your neighbor, and quiet prayer in hidden places. It’s important if it’s what He’s asking you to do. Oh, and this especially includes all those hours every week studying Thai. 🙂 You won’t be sorry for putting yourself into long hours of studying. He’s honored by you putting much effort into it.
-It takes time to integrate into a new culture—I don’t care how much you love the people, the Country, or the climate. 🙂 Keep this in mind, and expect that there will be many, many times that you feel like a fish out of water. This is normal, but keep pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and know that someday you’ll feel more at home, be able to understand what people are talking about around you, and make small talk with the person in line behind you at the coffee shop. Eventually your heart will find rest here, and you’ll KNOW that yeah, this is where you’re supposed to be. And best thing ever—you will get to the place when you can offer more than just a smile and a few simple words when it comes to communicating. Be patient. 🙂
-Always, always remember the faithfulness of God and His ability to provide what you need. Don’t waste time worrying about how it ill all pan out in the future or how you’ll deal with unseen problems. It’s not worth your energy. Instead, spend it all focused on the knowledge of His goodness to you in the past and what that means for your future. Remember that He doesn’t owe you anything—every good thing is a gift from His hand. Dwell on His overwhelming goodness and gifts to you, and accept them with gratefulness.
-Balance is a key word for all of life, just like Mrs. Brown told you. 😉 Apply it to any situation.
-Don’t try to be some “amazing missionary”—it’s God’s work, remember? Let His Spirit work, and follow Him. Believe it or not, He’ll show you what to do if you ask Him.
-Sometimes you just need to have fun. And don’t forget to laugh. A lot. 🙂
Yeah, I’d say those are some of the main things God has taught me this year. Good to process, and be able to look back on all that He has done.
Thank you Jesus! Here’s to the next year…may it be as grand and as much of an opportunity to see God’s hand moving. 🙂