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Missions isn't for Wimps [Blog]

September 18, 2017

For security reasons, names of people, countries, and communities are not included. Any names mentioned have been changed.

 

I’m sure you’ve been there. A foaming wave crashes onto the beach and quickly retreats into the ocean, dragging the sand with it. Your toes wiggle as the grains are sucked out from under them. It feels strange…sometimes like you can’t keep your balance. Adjusting to a new culture is similar. When those unfamiliar cultural waves hit, it’s like your foundation is being sucked out from under you.

If you’re an overseas missionary, I’m sure some of the followings things sound familiar:

 

The 2016 CHILI team in Eurasia has been experiencing all these things and more. But even through these difficulties, they have seen the seeds of the Gospel start to sprout.  

The CHILI team arrived in Eurasia in mid-March of 2017. Only a few weeks, they dove into learning the language. Instead of learning the more common trade language, they opted for the local tongue so they could reach and relate to the people in the mountain villages—their main focus. The team completed their three and a half months of language study in July at a beginner’s level with over 2,200 words in their vocabulary; and learning the local language has really paid off.

This was apparent while the team was in a mountain community during the last two weeks of June, as they were able to speak with their host family and the members of the community. The wife of the missionary couple on the team spent much of her time with their hostess, cooking, conversing, and building a relationship with her. This young wife has also been sharing Jesus with a local girl in the city, Amy. God has been working in Amy’s heart, and the team is praying that He would open her eyes completely. The two men on the team have been involved in a Bible study with some of the local men. The other young woman on the team, a physical therapist, is involved in ministering with the local medical caravans to help children with disabilities.  

The last two weeks of June presented the group with a huge opportunity. They eagerly headed to “the valley”—an area nestled in the mountains. The team’s target was one of the 17 communities in the valley. Once they began work, however, their excitement faded. The community’s newly elected leadership was weak and although some interest in the project was shown, it was not as high as the team had hoped. However, the team with help from some of the community members, completed the first stage of the project, including the capture of a spring that uses gravity to feed several water stands in the village.

As of now, the CHILI team has decided to step back to provide the community with space to reflect on where they are. The team will continue to pray for an opening and resolution of the community’s internal conflict so that they can begin work on the project again. Although the project did not go as the team hoped, it was an encouragement to them that they were able to build relationships with the people and plant the seeds of Christ.

The CHILI team is now looking forward to a new assignment this September with a different community. They’re excited to work with this community since the people came to them asking for a water project. This shows a very high “felt need” from the community. They also are willing to pay for the water stands that come to each house, and have already started digging the trench to lay pipe.

So, even when you feel the waves of life and culture sucking the sand out from beneath your feet, you can always remember that there’s a Rock that you can run to. And He can use anything to plant the seeds of His Gospel.

Written by Heidi Salzman



Learn more about Chili and how you can serve overseas here.





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