But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship. | 2 Timothy 4.5
I don’t believe it was coincidence that I wanted to get to one of Prof. André’s classes all semester and just wasn’t able to until the last one. I also don’t think it just so happened that it was the day he was finishing up the book of 2 Timothy. Because when we came to those words: endure hardship, the Bible did its living and active thing and I have been mulling over that phrase ever since.
We had just celebrated our first year living overseas milestone. Quite honestly, our 3-year commitment to serve in Brazil was starting to seem like much longer than what we could endure. When I’m feeling good, it’s a no-brainer why we’re here. To know your husband is doing what he absolutely loves and most definitely was made to do is a beautiful thing. To watch your kids interact with this other language and culture with such curiosity and determination is simply incredible. But, when sickness seemingly comes out of nowhere, it makes it really hard to do much more than stick near a bathroom and wonder why in the world the Lord brought us so very far from the doctors I know and trust (and can understand). Sometimes when the path gets rocky, we need to know this is still the way.
So, I write.
I am not here to share anyone else’s story. Whether or not to leave the field is a decision between the missionary and God. We’ve only been here a year and have come up with some pretty good reasons. It’s not easy.
I sat in that class my husband was teaching in order to prepare Brazilian missionaries who would be moving into remote regions to learn the language, to share the Good News, to plant a church, to raise up missionaries, to go into all the world. And thought…of course it’s not going to be easy! When is anything worth anything easy!
We didn’t come here because we thought it would be easy.
We didn’t come here because we had the idea this would be a better life for us.
We didn’t come here because we were looking for an adventure (although we figured it would be).
We came because we want to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. In essence, we asked God to loosen our grip and open our hands. And well…here we are!
I’m not saying we’re here for the rest of our life. Only the Lord knows that. I just didn’t know how much I needed this confirmation for right now. But, the Lord did. So, He spoke: endure hardship. These words have been like a light to my path. Confirmation to keep going. keep walking. keep enduring.
Does it make sense that God sent us here and 6 months later I started struggling with health? Not really. One day, I am sure we will look back at it all and laugh. For now, I want to be one of those who can look at the days to come and laugh. Because we never know what tomorrow holds. But I know that if I didn’t feel my weaknesses, I wouldn’t be able to know as fully the power of God who holds us all. And see all the ways…
The Lord stood by my side and gave me strength. | 2 Timothy 4.17
Last week we were a part of New Tribes Brazil Mission Conference (MNTB). I am still trying to unpack all that impacted me during our time together. For one, it was so very humbling to sit behind all those white hairs. People who have done this for 30+ years with no fanfare. Just faithful servants who keep their hands on the plow. Even when the path is harder and rockier than they had hoped.
What a joy it was to meet once unreached people who are now missionaries to their own people! This is because of those dear white-haired saints. This is the fruit of their labor. This is because of their faithful plugging away–often without “likes” or recognition. Some of them are in more pain than we can imagine (and they will ever tell). Yet. FOR THE JOY they endure hardship. We have got a lot to learn from them.
We feel our weaknesses more than ever. But, we just want to be faithful–Brazil or not. Sick or not. White hairs or not–and to see the power of God shine through it all.
P.S. Forgive the quality of pictures–working with a phone that has been dropped more times than it can handle. Still just trying to capture the memory. 🙂