Last Sunday I was blessed with the opportunity to speak at a tent-meeting in the nearby island of Bequia and spend a few days with the missionary serving there. The Lord used many things during that time to encourage and challenge me, but the thing He used most was the Pizza.
Now Mac’s Pizza is absolutely amazing (I suggest the pepperoni and bacon) but it was the conversation over the pizza that ministered to my heart.
One of the greatest temptations for those in full-time ministry (Pastors and Missionaries) is to isolate themselves.
- Because Satan tells them that’s how its supposed to be (don’t share struggles)
- There is nobody who can “minister” to them the way they minister to others
- It seems that only those in that ministry can truly understand what you struggle with
- And sharing weakness or struggles destroys the persona of “having it all together.”
The problem is ministry can’t be done that way. To Quote Paul Tripp “None of us is wired to live this Christian life alone. None of us is safe living separated and unknown”
The truth is all Missionaries know this, but we also have the voice of Satan that says “there is something seriously wrong with you so don’t share those struggles with anyone, just work harder.”
On a ride around town Monday and during lunch we began to share stories and it didn’t take long to realize the challenges he faced in Bequia were the same things that I faced in Barrouaillie.
in other words I wasn’t alone
The Lord reminded me Monday of how important it is for missionaries to share their struggles. It’s no necessary to share all the gory details of course, but you simply make sure co-laborers know they aren’t the only ones who dealt with that issue.
One of the greatest ministries to my heart during my first years as a missionary came from veterans on the field who encouraged me to come and “vent” to them. On more than a few occasions I would in discouragement and despair send a text saying “I’m having a bad day” and less than an hour later we would be talking about it over cappuccino.
After pouring out my heart they would always smile and say “let me tell you how I responded when that happened to me”…and suddenly I knew everything would be okay.