Being a missionary is hard. Actually, just being a Christian is hard. I feel like I should understand that by now. But even though I have been following the Lord for a little while, I am still surprised when struggles come along. I think, “Why, Lord? When will this end? Is it ever going to be easy?”
Today, I was in the chapel praying and having a moment with Jesus. It was one of those “Is this ever going to end?” moments. “Why is there struggle after struggle? It seems that the moment one thing ends, something else begins.” I was frustrated and starting to feel hopeless.
The past few months in Haiti have been absolutely beautiful. I have been blessed to be part of a mission where I feel like we are able to make an impact and bring something meaningful to our mission field. Watching youth ministry take place in Haiti has been one of the biggest blessings, and most beautiful times of my life. I really wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. We are living in a blessed mission field, and we all know it. We are part of something that we feel has been ordained by God, which is a huge comfort in times of difficulty.
However, at the same time, this whole mission has been incredibly hard. It is difficult to move to a new country where I can’t communicate well with the language. It is difficult to leave so many things behind – friends, family, community, comforts, electricity, warm water, reliable internet, real windows. These are things that I knew I had to sacrifice, but didn’t really think it would be hard until it was actually real in my life. There is also a huge struggle that comes with entering into a new community in a new culture. As missionaries, we’ve always been taught that vulnerability is an important thing in community. But how can you live out vulnerability, when only half the community speaks the language you are fluent in? How can we really know each other when we can only have simple, surface level conversations, simply because of vocabulary? Usually most of our prayer is in three languages: French, Haitian Creole, and English. It is even hard to pray together, when we are constantly aware that no matter what language we pray in, everyone cannot understand the whole prayer. While I know it is not true, and that love reaches outside of language barriers, it still sometimes feels that our community is crippled in our ability to truly be community.
Even our mission is hard for me. There are these incredible teenagers that come by our mission base all the time to hang out and play cards or basketball or talk or eat candy. I have come to love them so much, and it seems like the feeling is mutual. While they don’t seem to care that we can’t speak Creole fluently, it breaks my heart that I can’t yet really minister to them in the ways that I hope to. I want to know more of what they are saying so that I can tell them not to make fun of each other. I want to be able to tell them more about God and pray with them. I want to be able to evangelize in their language, but I can’t yet. My hope is that with months and months of building a relationship, they will really listen when we are able to speak with them about Jesus. I cannot wait for that day – but until then, it is painful to know that there is so much I want to say to them, I just physically can’t yet.
Lately, I have been overwhelmed by all these little struggles, and feeling a longing for familiarity. I want to know that if I share something in morning prayer, everyone in the room will be able to understand me. But I know that it is just not time for that yet, and it is time to dig in my heels and endure the struggle. I was reminded recently that nothing that is beautiful is easy, so I’m going to make sure to remember the beauty and remember the huge victories that God is winning – even if I can’t see them all the time. I was reminded when I was praying today that this is my time to CLING to Jesus. I have nothing to fear then, because everything good comes from that. Today I can be close to my Savior.
Keep praying for us!