Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mission Epiphany

Question of the Day: Do one's spiritual gifts change depending on where you are and what you're doing? Maybe not your spiritual gifts per se, but maybe the way in which you use them?

So, I had an epiphany the other day.

Sometimes it's hard being here, because sometimes I don't feel like I'm using my skills. Or that I'm not doing anything. I know of missionaries out there planting churches and building houses and taking care of people's health needs. What do I do? I help people with English. I listen, I show up to events. I feel like I'm just here and not really doing anything worthwhile.

Then I volunteered to wash the floor of the zal this week. So after Search on Friday at about 10:30 I started the process. It was good to do some physical work that also gave me some time to think. So here's the question for you. So I'm mopping the floor, and thinking about how I must've paid more attention than I thought
when mom showed me how to do these things when I was younger, because I'm doing a decent job. Then, I started lamenting the fact that I'm here not doing any great things. You know, nothing like winning those heroic spiritual battles that you read about in the Bible. I'm not amassing thousands to the Lord, or doing miracles.

Then I thought about how my days don't always turn out exactly how I planned them. I suddenly realized two things. One, being a missionary is not a 9-5 job. I mean, maybe that seems obvious, but it feels more like it's a little bit here, a few things there, a couple hours doing this a couple hours doing that and not just sitting at a desk for 8 hours. I kind of like the flexibility but at other times it can be a pain. There are some times I have to be "on" when I'd rather be "off".

I also realized that it's not really about fighting giants, or gathering thousands to the Lord. I feel like in God's kingdom it's not about numbers or projects. Sometimes we get caught up in that. It's about building relationships and doing what you can. Most importantly it's about being willing to serve with your whole heart. Sometimes I feel like the widow who gave her two coins to the poor. It was a heart issue. She had nothing, but she wanted to give and serve the Lord with everything. My job is to have that kind of attitude and do what I can.

So what is my job? It's rather abstract, but my job is to be here. I know it sounds strange. My job is to go speak to an 8th grade English class, to help watch a baby so her parents can have time together, to jump in and fake a bible class lesson for pre-teens, to listen to women who need to talk, to pray, to help people study English, to mop the floor at 11pm on a Friday night to participate, to encourage, and most importantly to love. It's not about me. It's not my job to personally save the world. Someone else already did that and boy am I ever glad he did.

I was talking to my friend Natasha about this Sunday evening. She agreed, that it's all about the small things and told me that I came at just the right time. She also said something that really stuck with me. She told me she didn't want me to leave after this year and be like "Oh yeah, I was in Russia" and have life go on. She's right. I already feel this way.

I already feel like it would be wrong to just continue my life the way it was, this is different than exchange. I have family here, friends, mentors, brothers, sisters. Just like I can't come here and completely forget about my family, friends, mentors, brothers and sisters back home, I can't go home and just forget about the people here. I need to take what I learn and discover here, and apply it to serving God back home. I need to pray and discover where God wants me and how he wants to work in my life. Then, I need to take my skills and my spiritual gifts and wholeheartedly serve him.

No comments: