Religious visas arriving the day before departing for a ministry trip
Traveling the same route often enough to have airline and hotel workers recognize you and willingly help you out
Getting luggage and funds through customs with no problems
Spotting a familiar, smiling face in a sea of faces when needing to be picked up from the airport
Managing, somehow, to get loads of luggage and 4 people in a small car
Sharing meals and laughter with good friends
The luxury of purified water
A clean bathroom
A hot shower
The joy of meeting new people in ministry, eager to do their part in carrying out the Great Commission
Making language mistakes that the nationals find so humorous they are bent over in laughter
Having experiences with fellow missionaries where you find yourself saying, “What happens on this field, stays on this field.”
Being served a meal in a national’s home with such love and generosity and knowing that they have sacrificed much in order to serve you
Being challenged and humbled by the faith and trust of those living a life for Christ where there are constant daily challenges
Having guests in your room … the 4-legged kind, like lizards and a frog greeting you from your toilet – ask David Long about that one!
Understanding that “right after class” can mean right after class, or it can mean 2, 3, 4, or more hours later
Making trips that are multi-purpose trips, adding hours to the expected travel time – but the trip becomes a journey – with coffee stops along the way
A bathroom, any bathroom, clean or not, seat or no seat
The pleasure of being in a Caribbean country in January and February! Enjoying the pleasant breezes and temperatures, grinning at the nationals who believe they are going to freeze
Not understanding why something is happening the way it is – when it seems like it would make so much more sense for it to be done a different way
Warm, friendly greetings
Constant goodbyes, heartbreaking goodbyes. Not knowing when you might see each other again
Transportation is always an issue … and realizing how much we take for granted being able to jump in a car and go somewhere
Sounds from the neighborhood – singing, some good, some not so good; the sound of tools, whether they are real tools or invented tools; pots and pans clanging; talking, laughter, children calling for their grandmas, dogs barking, roosters crowing, old vehicles backfiring
Realizing the trash dumpster you throw your trash in is gone through by people looking for food or any kind of treasure
Beginning to comprehend the difficulty of living in a country where one has to make decisions about staying in the country or leaving the country and people they love if they have the opportunity to do so
The awe in being able to see evidences of where Satan meant something for evil, God used it for the good of His people and furthering his kingdom
And last but not least, the privilege of being a part of the OMS family and the body of Christ and serving him alongside one another
I wonder if Paul was thinking about these kinds of things when he said, “I have learned to be contentwhatever the circumstances.I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry,whether living in plenty or in want.I can do all this through him who gives me strength” ―Philippians 4:11b-13.
cannot say that I have learned to be content – I can, however, say I am learning to be content whatever the circumstances.
I’d like to close with Paul’s final exhortations to the Philippians. I think it is good advice for daily living the life of a missionary.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. … And the God of peace will be with you”―Philippians 4:4-9.
By OMS missionary Anita Yoder, serving as anOMS itinerant missionary in the Caribbean, along with her husband Rich