I’ve been on the mission field for nearly three months now. Sometimes it seems like a long time, but, in actuality, ninety days is nothing. It’s a blink of an eye, a moment in time. Despite the fleeting reality of three months, I have learned lessons that will last me a lifetime. I have learned what it means to go into seasons of life with my hands wide open. I have learned what it is to love deeply and to love well, even when it breaks my heart. I have learned more about studying God’s Word and appreciating the tangible gift of life He’s given us in the form of the Bible. I have learned what it looks like to follow His calling, even when I’m not sure of the outcome. I have learned the power that the name of Jesus holds. I have learned the strength and fellowship of community living. I have learned more about following the prompting of the Holy Spirit and the voice of the Lord.
I’ve learned all these things and more, and God has given me some beautiful realizations about this life and the next. He has revealed Himself in so many incredible ways. But, the truth is, living day-to-day on the mission field often doesn’t look anything like the above paragraph. Looking back, I am able to piece together the truths of the past few months and praise Him for what He’s taught me, but I didn’t see them in the moment. Living missionally and doing life as a missionary is not glamorous. It’s not beautiful. It’s not easy. A lot of times, people don’t talk about the harder parts of missions. The dirty parts, the simple parts, the silly parts. But God shows Himself in those moments just as much as He does in the mountaintops and in the big life lessons.
Missions is spending three hours picking lice out of your teammate’s hair.
Missions is buying juice you don’t want from a street vendor just so you can talk to her.
Missions is cleaning up after sick friends.
Missions is eating soup given to you at church that is the consistency of snot (and tastes like it too).
Missions is movie nights with kids that live in the slum right behind your neighborhood.
Missions is deep cleaning squatty potties.
Missions is sometimes more free time than you know what to do with.
Missions is infected spider bites.
Missions is wading through knee-deep mud and catching spiky fish with your bare hands.
Missions is no Wi-Fi, sleeping in a room with nine other girls, and no alone time. Ever.
Missions is prayer walking in the blazing heat and not seeing the fruit of your prayers but trusting that the Lord is moving anyways.
Missions is dancing in the rain.
Missions is cleaning dishes.
Missions is teaching the same English lesson six times in a row and hoping that your students understand even a little bit of what you’re saying to them.
Missions is a shared smile with a stranger.
Missions is crying out to God with tears streaming down your face because you can’t always hear His voice and you feel so, so lost.
Missions is life. Every day moments–the mundane, the painful, the funny, the broken, the healing, those moments are missions. That is the biggest thing I’ve learned over the course of the past eighty days. Here, in Thailand, the day-to-day looks a little different than the day-to-day in America. But my calling remains the same, and the Lord has called me to something greater. For this season of life, that “greater” was in Cambodia and in Thailand. For the next season, “greater” is found in Monroe, Georgia. And after that? Who knows.
What I do know is that each season is composed of little, everyday moments, moments full of tears and laughter, and those moments are my mission field. I can’t wait to see what the Lord teaches me next.