Well, at least for me it has been.
On the one hand it is great to be back with those we love. It is great to sit in the back seat of the car and have a grandson ask you to read him a book. It is fun to have pizza and movie night with the grandsons.
On the other hand it is hard to go back into the market place. It is frustrating to be back into the drama that is the world of the unchurched and unChristian.
One a mission trip you are rubbing shoulders with “like-minded” people — people who love their God and are willing to spend long hours doing “godly” things. We are nice to each other. We pray together. We sing together. We read the Bible with and to each other.
Then we come home. Not everyone is “godly”. Some are truly “ungodly”. Once again we find ourselves amongst those who are far from “like-minded”. That can really be a culture shock.
I’d love to tell you that I have handled the transition with grace and dignity. NOPE. I won’t say that I have totally failed. I will admit that I have not been totally graceful. I have perhaps been a bit more “ungodly” than usual.
Someone commented to me today that they really look up to someone like me who is willing to “sacrifice so much to make a trip like that”. I’m not sure it was that much of a sacrifice.
My meals were cooked for me. My laundry was done for me. I didn’t have to drive anywhere. Almost everyone was happy to see me. The scenery was beautiful. I slept in the open air in a hammock that swayed softly in the breeze. It really wasn’t that bad!!!
Don’t get me wrong — we worked hard. But overall when work was done life was good.
Back here — we work hard. Then go home and figure out what is available for dinner. I have to cook the meal. I have to buy the food. I have to deal with car problems. I have to do my own laundry. And so it goes. Instead of spending my working hours with those who are “mission-minded” I work in a mixed group of those who share my values, those who sort of believe what I do, and those who despise what I believe.
It occurs to me that while we see the short term missionary as a bit glamorous and maybe as a special “cut above” others — maybe we should consider those who stay home with a bit more appreciation.
Those who are working to win the world to Christ — one disciple at a time — while slugging it out in the trenches of everyday life deserve a big AMEN. I still think short term missions is a great experience and a wonderful way to stretch your faith.
But it is also important that we appreciate those who are living the life of the disciple everyday — 24/7.
So instead of coming home from a mission field — I need to adjust my thinking to realize that I am simply trading one mission field for another. How do you see the world in which you live and breathe? It may be the most challenging mission field you can evangelize!