I had only read about such adventures! Adventures so full of excitement and passion! Ideas swell in my mind of what it might be like! Stories of missionaries who had gone before me dance in my head and my adrenaline starts pumping because it's my turn to become one of them!
For a while things are so exciting because everything is so different. It's a new culture with a new language. The new daily tasks are such a welcome change from the ordinary drudgery of what used to be my life. There are new faces, new friends and so many children to save and people to help!
Days go by....working every moment on these new daily tasks. I feel myself getting a bit tired here and there, but the excitement of this new life keeps my adrenaline pumping and my energy keeps up.
Days turn into months....months turn into years. The daily work begins to wear out my body. The excitement I once knew somehow has turned into the familiar drudgery of the mundane everyday.
The work never ends. It just becomes more and more. Help is so hard to find. Working fifteen hour days with no rest for a few years has taken its toll. My body begins to fail.
Pneumonia, malnutrition and extreme anemia set in. I lay in that hospital bed not knowing if I would live or die.
I get a text from a sweet friend of mine. It is a passage from the Bible.
Matthew 10:29. "What is the price of two sparrows...One copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are numbered. So don't be afraid...you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows."
I used to hate this passage because to me it seemed so mean that the Father would just let the sparrows fall. But this time when I read it, I felt the Father's heart. The sparrows that fell to the ground were still safe in the Father's hands.
At that moment I realized I am a sparrow. The children I was working so hard to save were also sparrows. They are weak and so am I. I could not save them. As hard as I tried...I could not save them. I had to leave them all in the hands of the Father.
I cried and cried as I let go of being their savior. My Father loves them. My Father holds them in his hands no matter what may come. They are safe.
A week later I was released from the hospital. It took almost a year for me to completely recover. And ... well ... There is no more adrenaline ... There is no more excitement ... There are very long days of mundane work to care for the children ... But now there is a strange endurance and a knowing that I am weak, but my Father is strong.
Its funny how things turn out. I had imagined missionary work so differently. Now when I read the stories of the missionaries who have gone before me it is in a new understanding. How tired they must have been! What endurance they must have learned! What trust they must have learned to have in their Father! What strength they must have learned to let Him be!
What a different adventure than what I was expecting this is turning out to be! What a hard journey this is! What amazing Truths my heart is learning. And what an unexpected God I am and getting to know!
"His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me."