I'm kind of jealous about something. Not an ugly kind of jealousy where you wanna hurt somebody...more like a wistful comparison.
Missionary friend, I know your life is not easy. You leave everything behind and make sacrifices I can't even comprehend. Recently at our district women's conference one of our missionaries, Shellie Bowdoin, shared with the ladies with tears streaming down her face about having to immediately send her son back to the states when he turns 18. They are preparing for their goodbyes. This is not an option, it's mandatory. I had no idea. The thought just never occurred to me that they have no choice in this matter. How have I missed this harsh reality about our missionary families? I have so much more to pray about now.
Last night we began our missions conference at Celebration Church and our long-time friend Jeff Hartensveld, missionary to Indonesia, shared about eating "tree snot". Apparently he has to do this on a regular basis. He spoke of a food shortage at times, and having to eat rats. Dining at Cracker Barrel was the highlight of his day when he arrived back in America yesterday. He's only here for two weeks and will enjoy as much as he can. I've been listening to missionaries speak for many years but I still get blown away when they share things like Jeff did last night. He shared with Larry and I about having to move from city to city as he starts new churches overseas because of persecution and danger to his family.
So what am I jealous of? I know you're probably wondering since you eat rodents. You go without basic necessities. You say more goodbyes than we will ever say. It's true. You walk a journey of faith we can't comprehend. Your lives are literally on the line every day. You are our heroes.
I know every missionary experience is not the same. But my envy is that many of you get to experience a level of faith and commitment in the church that is scarce in America. It's the blessing of being in the midst of radical Christianity -- "hard core believers" as I call them. People who believe and act with an intensity.
I'm going to write more about this tomorrow. Remember, this is the last day to get in on the book giveaway. Tonight at midnight I draw the winner! We're giving away Shelley Hundley's A Cry for Justice. The winner will be announced here on the blog tomorrow morning, and I'm going to talk more about what makes me jealous.