On 16 Feb 2006 at 11:25, a fellow missionary in South America wrote:
I have an experiment for the IMB. I think the IMB should transfer all the missionaries who have been involved in an actual CPM or are currently experiencing CPM and send them to South America and take over our positions. Then the IMB should send all of us in S.A. to the areas where there is CPM and see what happens.
What are the chances that us from S.A. would kill the CPMS that are currently happening? What are the chances that those which are experiencing CPMwould also experience them here?
I think it would get at the heart of the struggle. Are our lack of results a missionary problem or a S.A problem?
When I first read this, I chuckled at what I thought was a good "tongue- in-cheek" post. But your question at the end really is a good one that continues to haunt me. Is our lack of results a missionary problem or a South American problem?
It may be both, or it may be neither. I don't know. I too think it would be interesting to bring in some of the better known CPM experts and see what they would do different in our S. America context.
After two years or so evaluate and see what kind of things happened (or fail to happen) just because THEY were here and not us.
However, if it is any consolation, this whole "guilt trip" that we all frequently bestow upon ourselves for our not living up to our high ideals and expectations of what "should be happening" out there, is really missing the point of why God called US to the PLACE He did, and not someone else.
One of my favorite books mentioned several times on the cpf in the past is "The Present Future" by Reggie McNeal. He writes the following words that really get to the heart of the much bigger picture that we are all a part of as missionaries:
God must have had a lot of confidence in you to put you on the planet at just this time. It was his sovereign decision to insert you onto planet earth during a time of huge transition. It takes incredible faith to lead during hinge points of history.
Think about John the Baptist as a transitional leader...[He] saw heaven open and the Spirit descend when he baptized his first cousin. Yet when he was thrown in jail he sent word of Jesus, "Now, let's go over this one more time: are you the one?" Jesus doesn't slam John. In fact, he extols his cousin, "There's never been a better man born," ...
Jesus doesn't slam you either for your doubts, your fears, your uncertainties. He wants to encourage you in your current assignment. You are being asked to lead during a time when you are not sure where all this is going. If previous history is an accurate indicator, the kinds of changes we are undergoing will not settle out for another century or more. This means that some of you are giving direction to the great- great-great grandparents of the leaders of the Christian movement when it all shakes out on the other side of the postmodern wormhole. You are leading by faith, trusting that the subplot obediences you practice will contribute to the larger drama. Your courage to believe with partial sight will be rewarded one day when a full view is afforded.
On the flip side, you have the chance to do what only a few have been privileged to do. You get the chance to give shape to the movement that will define its expression for perhaps hundreds of years (if Jesus doesn't come back and usher in the kingdom). You must choose carefully... (pg.120-121)
I think each of us is God's choice for the place He has placed us. Surely there are better people out there who might be able to do things better, but they are where God wants them. We are where God wants us!