I stand at the edge of the tree line. Everything I have known waits behind me in family, friends, and the comfort of home. I want to take them with me, but You aren’t calling them to follow. You’ve asked them to serve in the places You’ve prepared for their hearts. You’ve called me into a different wilderness. I say yes and step into the woods.
It is here that you’ve called me to share the Gospel. To a place that does not know You. It is uncomfortable. The terrain is uneven and the air is cold. Still, You ask me to prepare a way for You.
As I walk along with You further, I see that You’ve already prepared a place for me. You have not left me alone, as I meet my teammates who will serve alongside me. We have set up camp in the uncomfortable.
It’s not too long before the wind picks up. The air is frigid and rain begins to fall. These are the external factors of mission, such as meeting new people, facing rejection, building up courage to be bold, and choosing to love others. The fire we’ve built, which is our drive, courage, and conviction begins to fade…but it still burns, ever still.
When I retreat to the tent of my own heart, I try to zip it up, still missing home. Transition takes longer than expected and it highlights the holes in my tent, in need of repair. So I show these holes in the tent to You, because You’re the only one who can fix them. My teammates notice them too, as I finally bring up what’s hard. My teammates sit with me as You repair. You sit with me while the tent is still broken. You speak lovingly as You care for me.
But I need to give You the tools because I cannot do it on my own. So I learn how to lift up my hands in surrender. For students, for myself, for my team. We are all a work in progress.
Now we’re learning how to live, out here in the wilderness and uncomfortable. My missionary friends are bold and they know how to live in authentic friendship. They are witnesses to the abundance of life You call us to. You’re at the center as everyone’s hearts are being transformed by You. Although it’s not very often that we get to spend time with them, they inspire us to keep the fire going.
As first year missionaries, we’ve learned that the fire in us is bright and that’s why we’re here. The world needs bold missionaries. We share stories of life in the wilderness, how it’s hard to stoke the fire at times, and the ways we’ve learned what works and what doesn’t.
So, we stay put in the uncomfortable. We pray for one another when it gets hard. When we go out to pave the rocky terrain, You are at our side. You are working for our good, because there are days when we see the sun. When Your light shines in others, when they say yes to the gospel, and when they realize Your love for them. You bring laughter, joy, and peace. Our fire is filled with hope for students, conviction to be bold, and love for one another. I marvel at the beautiful ways You love each of us intentionally.
There’s a joy in sharing Your love story day after day. I couldn’t ask for a better team to serve alongside. I’m thankful for those I get to share stories with at home. You are with us in the wilderness.