November 15th, 2016 Notes: The Meaning of Love
My notes from Heidi Bakers sermon that day:
Miserable missionaries need to go somewhere else. God will give you the grace to go where He calls you to go. Where you’re really miserable, you’re either going to have to push through until the season is over or you’re going to have to leave.
A lot of missionaries are missionaries because they need love. A lot of people are missionaries because they wanna be loved. They think going to another culture is going to solve their need for love more than the people in their current culture.
They bring their orphan and victim mentality with them to the mission field and hurt other people with all their pain. Lay down your culture when you go into another culture. Don’t try to introduce your culture to another one. Introduce Kingdom culture. You want people to want what you have. If your hearts pure, people know it.
Before I talk about miserable missionaries, I want to give some examples of professions and positions that most of us would never think of as missions-minded: Auto mechanics, CEO’s, Janitors, doctors, and I can go on. For eight and a half years I was a miserable missionary working at a mechanic shop. I wasn’t miserable because mechanics aren’t missionaries. I was miserable because God didn’t call me to be an auto mechanic.
When we’re doing something that God didn’t create us to do, we aren’t able to share the Gospel to the degree God created us to. As I sat in the dirt in Mozambique the day I took these notes, I finally understood why I was miserable for most of my life. I finally understood why I was such a negative person. It’s because I didn’t know who I was and how God wanted to use me to spread the Gospel.
I loved my time in Africa. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t go through hard stuff while I was there. Besides getting sick several times and needing to sleep more, I also dealt with a lot of heart issues. There were difficult things happening with close friends back home, and, I’d also received a verbal threat from an acquaintance. These along with lots of other personal matters negatively affected my mood.
Having to deal with all these things made staying in Africa for 3 months for missions school very hard. I was pretty miserable for a while, but I knew that God called me to go to Africa. In a school where there are between 200-300 students, it was hard to make genuine friends. There was no way I was going to personally get to know 300 students. But I found a way to actually get to know people.
The Importance of Friendships
One of the biggest reasons I was able to make it through Harvest School 25 with my heart full of my joy was because of my friendships. After a few weeks of school went by, the schedule was so busy that I always felt full of anxiety. And, I didn’t feel like I knew anybody. I knew I needed to change that.
Some things I stopped doing were: going to all the optional village outreaches, going to every event, going to every group hangout, and I also stopped trying to make new friends. Instead of trying to make new friends all the time, my focus was on investing and going deeper with the friends I’d already had. Another thing I started doing was waking up every day at 4 am to pray and talk to God in silence. That in itself made a world of difference in my mood.
I’m happy to say that some of my friendships from Harvest School 25 were with: Sameer, Carolaan, Simon, Elias, Marcos, Melody, Brian & Kathy, Rachel, Luisa, Michael, Lien, Jules, Kathrin, Virginia, Zachary, Lydia, Olivia, Tabitha, and Peter (My Mozambiquan friend). While I certainly spent a lot more time connecting with only a handful of these friends, they all played a pretty big role in my life along with many others I may have forgotten to mention.
The friends I mentioned above helped me get through one of the roughest times in my personal life. Many missionaries are miserable because they’re trying to do everything on their own. They want to process their own emotions, they want to resolve problems on their own, and they don’t want anyone to know their weaknesses.
But one of the best ways for us to make it as missionaries isn’t to pretend that we’re tough and don’t need any help from anyone. One of the best ways for us to keep going is by having amazing friends to run alongside us in the destiny God created us for.
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