Tag Archives: missions

8 Reasons You Should Never Become a Missionary

***None of this is original.  I took it all from the Laura Parker Blog (here).  I hope she doesn’t mind.***

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1. Don’t Become a Missionary if You Think You Are Going to Change the World. First, high expectations doom to disappoint, but, also, maybe your desire to change the world is trumping your desire to serve. Ask yourself if you would be happy moving overseas to a much harsher environment in order to quietly help a local, while getting no recognition and seeing no fruit in the process. If you can answer honestly yes, then maybe you’re still in the running. {Don’t worry, we thought we would’ve answered yes, but found out that we really had some unhealthy saviour-complexes to begin with. You can read about that here: On Living a Good Story and Not Trying So Hard and The Guy in the Orange Shirt.}

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On the fear of God and invisibility

invisible-man

In a lot of ways, this post is about one of the biggest struggles I have here in Romania.

Living in a city of two million and in a country whose language and culture I barely understand, far from most friends and family and away from the people who have held me accountable for years, I often feel invisible.  I could probably go the whole day and not run into a single familiar face or have a single person say “Bună ziua, hello” or “Cum eşti?  How are you?”  It’s embarrassing, but I’ve often had to stop myself from taking care of… errr, well… nasal maintenance in public.  I just sometimes forget that people really do notice I’m here.

I’m tempted to think I’m invisible, unnoticed.

There’s a deeper truth here than just remembering not to embarrass yourself in public.

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Back to the U.S.

It’s been just over a year since I first arrived in Romania.  I’ve been feeling the need for a while to take a trip back to the U.S. for some time to rest, visit family/friends, and share some stories with all the support team back home.

At first, the idea was super exciting.  The last few months in particular have been difficult here, with life in the city really starting to wear on me and homesickness setting in as well.  Not to mention the chest cold I picked up a month ago that hasn’t gone away.  (Oh, I just mentioned it.)  The thought of getting to visit home again was looking really good.

But then I started to realize Wisconsin isn’t really home anymore.  Yes, I have many family and friends there, people who love me, but it isn’t really home anymore.  I grew up in Green Bay, but I’ve only visited periodically since 1999 when I graduated from high school.  My family lives there, but everything’s changed, and I don’t really belong there anymore.  And though I spent about ten years ministering to students in Spring Green, that’s not really my home, either.  I’ve moved away, and others have taken over the work I used to do.

I’m starting to feel out of place already.

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Reflecting on One Year in Romania

My one-year anniversary in Romania was yesterday at 8:20 p.m. I had been looking forward to this date.  If not in reality, at least in my mind it’s an important milestone; one whole year in a foreign country learning on the job how to do missions work.

Months ago, I started thinking about what I’d write, figuring I’d have something deep, insightful, and spiritual to share.  But I don’t.  Partly, this is because the date snuck up on me.  Partly, it’s because the thing I feel most certain about is that I’m still learning, still growing, still discovering.  And I have a headache now.

Instead of a “year-in-review” (you’ll get something of the sorts in July when I put up my next prayer letter) or something deep (that’ll take a few years to get around to), I’d like to give you just a couple of my observations and reflections.

1. Ninety percent of following Jesus really is about simply not quitting.

2. Ministry is not a microwave but a slow-cooker; it takes a lot longer than you think it ought to.

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this thing is very AWSOME !!!!!!!!!!!!

shark_missionary

By now, I’ve told many people that I’m a missionary in Romania.  I’ve had a lot of different responses.  They range from complete cluelessness to amazement and awe to violent annoyance.

Here in Romania, I seem to find a lot of disinterested or slightly annoyed people.

It took one of my English students to remind me of just how truly amazingly awesome it is to be a missionary.  Radu found me on Facebook chat the other day

“but Ben, you are a missioner ?” he typed.

“Missionary, yes,” was my reply.

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“The Life and Diary of David Brainerd” by Jonathan Edwards

I’ve been reading The Life and Diary of David Brainerd by Jonathan Edwards for the last few months.  I’ve got a bit to go yet, but I can already say this is definitely a book you’ll want to pick up.  It has stirred my heart towards prayer and preaching the truth of Jesus like nothing else (except for maybe the Bible which kinda makes sense).  Reading the testimony of this man who strove so diligently to see a lost people saved has filled me with a greater determination to speak the truth boldly and to expect transformation in people’s lives, even if they don’t respond well (or at all) at first.  As the word of God is preached, surely men and women of all types will find hope, peace, and restoration.

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