Wow…..I’m really not sure where to start….except I think so often in missions we/I portray the mission glamor and not the struggle. I hadn’t really thought about this until today. Today has been a STRUGGLE. With ALL CAPITAL letters. Actually for me, personally it hasn’t been to bad. I awoke at 5 a.m., had a great quiet time with Jesus, did the whole get 4 boys fed, supervised lunch making, filtered about 40 different messages from them and sent them out the door by 7:05. Then I ran for about 30 minutes on the run way, made some scones (comfort food), bathed, gathered last minute teaching material together, greeted my house helper, sent some emails and ran out the door by 8:45. At the International school I mentored a high school girl for 45 minutes, and then taught a class 4th period on what Seniors should expect in the medical world upon returning to America. Yep it was a 45 minute fire hose of information on everything from deductibles, co pays, HIPPA laws, 911, power of attorney, Emergency rooms verses walk in clinic verses family doctor verses Walgreen pharmacy and so much more. ALL things that we do not have to think about here. Oh and they consumed about 80% of the scones. Now its 11:00. Time to zip home because friends are coming for lunch. Meanwhile my mind does wander to Darron. He has been gone since 2:30 a.m. Sunday morning, when he left to go on an exploratory trip down the crocodile infested Nambramo River. My friends arrive by noon. We enjoy a simple lunch and great fellowship and prayer until 1:45 when it is time to head back to the school for our weekly Mom’s prayer group. See, its a nice day. Not too much of a struggle. A bit busy, but really special in many ways.
(Photo by Pastor Jasper)
Three quarters the way through praying for the school my phone becomes very active. Messages keep pinging in and someone keeps trying to call. I give in and glance down to catch a glimpse that Darron is trying to get a hold of me and so is his secretary. Something does not seem right. I excuse myself. This is the first that I have heard from Darron since he left and I could tell right away that there was trouble. Through a broken connection and texting the story begins to unfold (sort of). Apparently, Darron and 3 other pastors he is traveling with, took a smaller boat today on a side excursion, asking the larger boat to wait for them and then they would continue down river. Upon returning to where the larger boat should be waiting, they discover it is GONE. With all their food and drums of fuel. Big problem. A real struggle. And then begins the communication between the pilot, Gary, and I and them…….to come up with a plan. At first they feel they just need to abandon the rest of the trip. With no fuel or food, how can they go on? Yet by the time the sun is beginning to set new plans are emerging in their struggle.
A boat has been located that will continue to take them down the river. Could I send food and cooking pot/utensils plus 20 kilos of rice? Why, sure I can. One of aviation planes will swing by tomorrow in Dabra, where the guys are. Pastor Jasper will be picked up. He is there, filming and wanting to capture not just the glamor but the STRUGGLE in missions. HAHA. Glad we could drum some of that drama up for you Pastor Jasper!!!!! And food will be dropped. I mix up a batch of granola and put it in the oven. I put supper on the table and inform the boys that I need to go shopping for the guys. To town I head for the third time today. I wade through the Asian colorful plastic dishes….looking for cheap plates, cups, bowls and a cheap cooking pot. I then head to the grocery store and try to find non perishable things to send that are also light and not super heavy (like Ramen noodles not canned goods). Finally I am home by 8:00 p.m. The kitchen has not been cleaned from supper and the granola is not finished baking because the oven was accidentally turned off. My KP duty boy gets into gear with a not so gentle reminder from the beginning to struggle Mom. The oven is relit and more messages flood in from the sporadic struggling with signal communication by the crocodile river shores.
Conflicting messages. As the team that has been violated with their fuel and food stolen grapple with what is the wisest plan. Maybe now they should just go down river and fly home on Thursday, don’t send food. Really? I question. More messages. At last at 9:00 p.m. the plan is that they will stay in Dabra and await the plane from here. They will make sure Jasper gets on the plane to return here and get the food that I will send in. Great. I message if their plans change to let me know.
Meanwhile, I come to my room to start writing this blog. I was sure that I had turned the oven off, and left a pan of granola in the oven to just finish off lightly browning as the oven cooled. Thirty minutes later I opened my bedroom door to discover that I failed to turn the oven off and now I had a tray full of burnt granola. As I pulled the hot tray from the oven and the smoke poured from the charred oats and nuts, I decided it was a perfect ending to our day of struggle.
Missions is far from easy or glamerous. There are so many stories, experiences, day to day happenings that cannot be shared. But today may you catch a glimpse and know that we covet your prayers. Struggle is not bad. It can be very clarifying. Good and hard can co-exist. And I am learning that we can find God in the midst of struggle and suffering. I am anxious to hear the rest of Darron’s story when he returns home……whenever that will be. Because I have NO DOUBT that he will have seen God at work in the midst of todays STRUGGLE. I am believing that the same is true for you. Courage my friend. Thank you for reading and believing.