Missionary life isn’t what you think. Although our family lives in Central America, my life looks almost identical to the one I lived while in the States. I teach my children. I drink my coffee. I fold laundry, wash dishes, and take walks in the evening. I play the piano at church, watch T.V. at night, and serve in our church’s nursery once a month.
I just happen to live in a third-world country. There are things are that are different, like getting our drinking water from a delivery truck, I don’t always have hot water and I never pump my own gas. Fresh fruit means we must eat it in one or two days or it will go bad, but it also tastes 1000% better.
Our missionary work involves mostly my husband. He is a doctor who invites medical professionals to come to his surgical clinic for a week. He lines up patients and for four days the doctors and nurses do routine surgeries for people who can’t afford them.
Sometimes serving means you are behind the scenes – and honestly that is most of my work as a missionary, wife, mother, and friend. If we aren’t up front or at the center of the action we might feel a little useless. Even my husband works behind the scenes. Yes, he directs a surgical center, but no one sees the hours he spends sorting medicines, filling out paperwork, and listening to patient’s stories. No one sees the long hours of sweeping and mopping he does before a team arrives. But what an honor to be invisible and do the unseen work for Jesus.
Missionary life is a normal life lived in a foreign country. Normal life is not often glamorous, but it can be glorious. God takes our ordinary and makes it glorious because He shows up. He is the same – no matter our address – and He has work for us no matter our talents.
Sometimes we feel like we don’t fit in, so we think a change in our life will do this. If we are unhappy in our life, a change in scenery won’t make us content. Instead, contentment is not found in our occupation, but our position in Christ. Paul’s great life reminds us that even the best missionary needs to be reminded of these truths. There is a reason God wrote the following words. He wanted to remind us to keep Christ center in order for contentment thrive.
Romans 6:6 – “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”
John 1:12 – “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”
1 Peter 2:9 – “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.“
If you are thinking and praying about missions, whether that’s full time or long term, can I encourage you to take a step back for a moment? Evaluate your heart and see if Christ is really the center. Test your position in Christ. Do you believe you are loved, accepted, and have all you need in Christ? If you struggle with contentment in your life right now, missionary life will not bring you any more joy. Missionary life is a normal life, so before you move to another country make sure your normal life is rooted in Christ.