The previous article provided an overview of the Church’s work in countries or world areas that cannot officially be recognized by name due to resistance or restrictions to the sharing of the gospel. These political, social, or religious environments require creative approaches for ministry and missions.
Today we hear the testimony of what an average day looks like for a missionary who is serving in one of these “Creative Access Areas.”
- I begin my day with prayer to my God for the unknowns that this day will bring.
- I spend some time with my family and call my closest contacts to make sure all is well in their lives as a new day of opportunity to live in this ‘special context’ dawns; and that they are at peace…we always pray for the peace of one another.
- I have to go to the small shops along the street nearby to buy what I can for food and other necessities (while those items might still be available).
- The key in this kind of work and life is building relationships, so as I go shop to shop, I try to spend time with the shopkeeper or with other neighbors I might meet there.
- There is some disquiet in the atmosphere today. I believe it is due to the devaluation of our local currency, which I noticed was limiting my purchase power in the shops. The tension seems to be linked to political unrest related to this financial hiccup. When this kind of atmosphere rises, I need to stay vigilant and communicate with my family and close contacts each hour.
- I know that I will only have Internet from around 13:00 (1:00 pm) local time until around 16:00 (4:00 pm) local time, so I am making my way home to catch up on emails and other communications, both inside and outside the country.
- I need to remind myself, and my family and close contacts, that we must be careful in the words and phrases we choose to use in our communications. This is a critical security issue, and while some in our home country do not understand it and want to know more than we are at liberty to share, we cannot explain further unless we do so while visiting our home country when we come back to visit.
- Discipline and prayer is so important to our work, so I find that I need to pause and pray between every activity or encounter, asking my God to fill me with courage, insight, wisdom, grace, love, and a lot of patience. He always seems to answer with what I need when I need it!
- I spend time working on my next “listening and telling” get-together and try to find the right words (both in my language and in my adopted language) so that I understand well and communicate clearly.
- I/we know that there are some concerns by “majority” neighbors about why we are here. This adds to stresses related to intimidation by religious powers, and daily we recognise the need for more prayer and more specific prayer. We cannot talk about this in detail, but I am trusting that my God will prompt His children to pray, even if they do not understand the situation or have wide knowledge of these issues.
- I had a wonderful conversation with one of these neighbors today, who asked me “why I always seem to be so positive and willing to stop and help him when he needs an extra pair of hands and feet.” I am reminded that here, I am the hands and feet of One Who helps us all bear one another’s burdens.
- I picked up my children from their school and found that they had some new friends with them. We walked home together and talked about these new relationships they were developing in their young lives. It is good to see them coming out of themselves a bit more as the days go by.
- At dinner, we shared a lovely local meal—a favorite in our community, and one for which we are acquiring a taste—and talked about our day and all the good things that had happened. Our youngest was a little frightened by the sound of gunfire midday, but we assured him that we are safe and gave him some simple instructions on what to do in such cases. I also reminded him Who is always watching over him! He smiled…
- We played a game before the electricity was cut off for the night (around 20:30 or 8:30 pm) and lit some candles and tried to finish our game in vain. Finally, we prayed together before going to bed.
- We know that we are not alone here!
- While each day has its challenges, each also has its delights in this place that is becoming home to us—a place among a people for whom we are developing a deep love.
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