Senior Missionaries (Part II)

Living with other people is always an interesting and learning experience. Some one said that “experience is a different teacher, giving you the test first and the lessons after”.  That first year was a difficult one. Many adjustments were to take place in my life in many areas, cultural and emotional adaptations, for instance. After 10 years it is finally getting on me that I was not the only one who had to go through changes; they also must have had significant alterations in their routine for my presence there an entire year. Their space was suddenly also my space. The definition for hospitality is “love for strangers” but in my own words it’s simply an invasion to one’s privacy. Long term hospitality requires such a commitment to love and has its high costs; they were willing to pay those for me and without complaints! It was an all-winning situation for me. I’ve got to live in their house for free and got experience in teaching and missionary work under their guidance, good example and influence.

Gene and Loraine kept me busy. Every day there were chores to be done, people to visit, papers to grade, lessons to prepare, groceries to buy or the such. Loraine, knowing that I like the kitchen, had me cook and bake a few times. They both gave up their religion classes at school and gave them to me. These are Bible classes they had been teaching for forty years with much dedication, zeal and passion. I am sure it must not have been easy for them,  but they did it and in doing so, they opened my eyes to a world of ministry possibilities. I know they had experienced disappointment when they first arrived to work along another missionary who not gave them, for one moment, the chance to do something. They were eager to get involved and would have been content to even do the simplest task, but that opportunity never came for them. Many years later, they were not to make the same mistake with me and, in spite all my lack of experience, I had plenty to do in school and church.

One incident that profoundly touch me and entirely inspired me had nothing to do with making missionaries looked to be on a pedestal. We were three plain and feeble redeemed sinners living and working together for our Lord. One day our sinfulness collided in a conversation over a different point of view. Loraine and I were probably very similar to Paul and Barnabas having a “sharp contention”, except that we didn’t depart from each other. Next day I woke up early to pray with Loraine and asked her forgiveness. It was not any more a matter of who was right or wrong, I had been disrespectful and felt a heavy weight on my heart. I told Loraine I was unworthy and incapable for the job and that I might as well leave and go back home. I’ll never forget her reaction. She looked at me intently and emphatically said: “Don’t even entertain the thought! The Lord brought you here to use you”.  She showed and taught me in one phrase what wisdom, grace, love and encouragement is all about and one more thing: that just because I might fall, I don’t need to abide in there. I had to rise and proceed for “no one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God”.  Gene and Loraine had put theirs and there was not turning back. They are still here in active duty as their physical strenght permits and I continue watching and learning from them. Thank God for senior missionaries.

Trains having refreshments with the teachers at school

Trains having refreshments with the teachers at school

Published in: on September 25, 2008 at 12:36 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. More, more, tell us more. I’m learning a lot from your experiences! Thank you!

  2. ¡Hola Andrés!.Primero quiero agradecer tu hospitalidad al permitirme la entrada a tu casa. Thanks you so much.Como sabes, con esto de mi inglés, como está el dicho por acá que dice:”desde que se importa el maíz de USA, todos los burros hablan inglés”, ja,ja,ja, así que lo sigo “masticando”, pero para nada que me sale, en fin.Estoy practicando mi inglés al leerte, pero me voy lento, lento, pero me agrada leerte.
    El Señor te continúe bendiciendo y te mando mi cariño hasta donde estás.

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