I saw at my computer in the basement that chilly Sunday evening in North Dakota pounding out a long email to my sister that could rival War and Peace. A missionary had visited our church and shared with us what the Lord was doing in the country where he and his family served. It touched a deep place in my heart, as I was preparing to leave for the mission field in a few months.
I was overflowing with excitement! In my mind’s eye I could see an amazing work of God: a revival, an awakening, a New Testament church arising to power and victory in Jesus and the Kingdom of God advanced with authority!
The passion of this vision surged through me as I sorted through my belongings; deciding what could fit into my limited luggage and what would have to stay behind or be given away. It wasn’t easy – but that vision in my heart enabled me to make the hard choices. And I embarked on a journey that looks nothing like what it did that wintery night in North Dakota.
When ministry doesn’t go the way we plan
This August will mark my 10th year anniversary on the mission field. And I can say with full assurance that nothing – literally nothing – has gone as I dreamed it would. Why, then, does God give us these visions and dreams, if He knows they will not come about as we thought?
As I look back on that night 10 years ago, and recall those dreams and ambitions, I can’t help but chuckle a bit. They were immature and filled with deadly pride. During my time here, I have struggled to hang on my those selfish dreams, been forced to let them go, cried tears of loss and disappointment, considered myself a miserable failure, and come to peace with the fact that I cannot - must not - live. It must be Christ who lives in me – and He must work through me. And the joy of death, the sweet aroma of that sacrifice, is worth the loss. Because in dying we live, and in being destitute of self we are rich in Him.
This is when ministry truly becomes ministry!
Rosilind is an American girl married to a Bosnian guy who lives in a small village just outside of Zagreb. They have two crazy boys 3 and under who are as opposite as boys can be. When Rosilind isn't writing, she is dreaming up recipes and searching for ways to organize her home better. You can find her at A Little R & R where she writes about missions, marriage and family, toddler activities, and her recipes. You will also find her onFacebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
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3/6/2014 01:41:13 am
Great article. I have done exactly the same... So many times! But Gods plan is so much better. Thanks for writing!!
3/6/2014 02:07:37 am
Oh Ros, this was beautiful. I can relate- in different ways- with my own ministries in the US - both past, present, and probably future! I love your heart! Keep shining!
Thanks Mandy! I think this applies to any ministry - even homemaking and motherhood...(those are ministries, too!). We start out our journeys with selfish, immature dreams and learn that to be what God truly intended we have to die. Isn't not easy - but it's rewarding.
3/6/2014 02:07:52 am
Amazing article! Thanks for sharing your heart!!!
3/6/2014 02:16:01 am
So true, Rosilind! You stated it all so perfectly. Thank you for reminding me. Sometimes we experience these truths, yet move forward and forget--until we have to learn again.
3/6/2014 03:31:18 am
Great article Roz. Been there myself more than I care to admit.
3/7/2014 01:09:22 am
As I begin preparing for a short term mission trip to China in 3 months, this post was very helpful to me. His plans, not mine. Thank you for sharing!
3/9/2014 10:26:56 pm
I love your humble spirit, Rosilind and this is so helpful to help us deal with expectations that we have about our ministry.
3/14/2014 03:52:58 am
This is so true, but is not only in ministry, but living the "plain old American life" as well that he requires us to die. This has been a wretched and horrid 5 years in the process of dying for me...and my only "ministry" is wiping poopy butts ( adult!)and fixing meals and paying bills with money I dont have. Sorry if I am too graphic. Its a good lesson, and all of us need to be able to that there is hope and a reason to keep going. Love you dear girl.
Connie - I know this has been a very difficult season for your whole family. You've been heavy on my heart with all you have to bear. Never underestimate the blessing you are to those you serve...and your ministry is as much ministry as any other. Remember Jesus' lesson about the "least of these". Love you, too. I pray your are blessed and encouraged today!
4/28/2014 11:32:01 am
Hi Rosalind, I really found this article very encouraging and inspiring. My husband and I are from South Africa and we serve as missionaries among the American Indian people in Arizona. I can so identify with what your journey. Thank you for sharing, I will stay in touch.
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