His wife and four kids come over everyday and join our two children for homeschooling and NorthStar Academy online school. (For a description, photos, and all the details of the circus everyday at our house check out my wife's blog here.)
Chris has a lot of good things to say about missions and church planting. The Office is a good reminder to all of us in ministry about the dangers of spending too much time away from our real ministry--people!
Every minister and missionary knows the danger of office-work. In the midst of organization and planning...it becomes apparent that people become secondary. We spend more time with ourselves than we do those with whom we have chosen to serve. We are experts at organizing, systematizing and planning.
It reminds me of a missionary friend of mine who at the end of his missionary service asked one of his best African friends what he wished for from the missionaries. The African man quickly replied “Just once I wish you would come to visit unannounced--without scheduling it in your day-timer!”
For most non-western cultures, friendship is not what happens on-the-clock. It cannot be scheduled, arranged and planned for. It is built through unscheduled visits and the sharing of life experiences; even when they don’t seem very productive.
Every Tuesday night after prayer meeting, a group of men from our church meet with men from another church to play soccer. From 10pm until 1am, we act like we don’t have to get up the next morning for work. It’s not a time I look forward to, but I’ve seen more work happen through this activity than many other spiritually-oriented ones.
Truth be told, Latinos have a far better understanding of relational living than we Western missionaries do. For us, our time, our plans and our beliefs are more important than those with whom we work. It is not surprising then to find Ecuadorian people who view us as caring more about the work than about the people. We are perceived as respecting and valuing our plans and views over their own.
Pray for me as I try to readjust certain areas in my life so that the pronouns “my” and “mine” are less esteemed. Pray also that I will let them speak, and let them lead and be willing to follow the path that they believe important even if it’s not as clear and nicely marked as my own. May I not grow so proud as to believe that I alone know how to live and organize their faith as well as my own. While we all may talk of servant-leadership, we would be surprised to find how many Ecuadorians have not seen it prominently displayed...
A timely reminder, Chris, and pray the same for us too!