This all sounds good and wonderful, and it certainly is. Living in obedience is definitely fulfilling, and it makes me love Jesus more. However, I can say with assurance that the life of a cross-cultural missionary is often less than glamorous. Maybe it goes without saying, but Erin and I have gotten a quick lesson in obediently serving Christ no matter what it may cost- and it has been a difficult lesson to swallow!
First stage of African initiation: get yo hair did! Braided hair makes scarves more bearable in the heat.
Sleeping under a mosquito net, power outages, attempting to speak a completely foreign language, and constantly getting stared at (constantly) become immediately frustrating when you add temperatures of over 100 degrees to the mix. Our patience, love, and grace have been tested in many ways in just the past 3 days. Even children have verbally opposed the Gospel to us. I have learned a lot about how selfish I am, and I have learned how great of a task it is to love people enough to come to them and share Christ right where they are. 2 mornings ago I woke up looking at a donkey 3 feet from my mat. Is it worth it? Absolutely.
My absolute favorite verse, Acts 20:24, became real to me in a whole new way this week:
"I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me- the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace."
In this life, I've only been given one task from God- to tell others of the beautiful grace He has provided me with. We're commanded to share it with others- but what will it take? I consider my life and comforts worth nothing to me, as long as it means testifying to what Christ has done for me. In a race, the runner is not always feeling absolutely superb, but the finish line is certainly worth the run. I've decided that, no matter how many times a rooster wakes me up in the middle of the night, getting the Good News to the Songhai people is 100000% worth it.
That being said, please pray for us. Pray that we'll be able to adjust to the heat, miraculously learn a ton of language quickly, and that God's sheep would hear His voice and be drawn to our compound. Pray that our bodies would adjust so that we can focus on our ministry rather than just trying to "beat the heat." Praise Him that we have had such a welcoming host family here in the village, whom we share a compound with and interact with daily! We are so so so so thankful for your prayers!
Some of the precious kids in our compound