Looking for the Middle Ground

There is this tightrope walk that happens to me...  and at any given moment, I'm apt to fall off on either side into an unrecoverable chasm.   Certainly, I'm not the first or last missionary to just want to get off the tightrope all together.

What is this tightrope?

The tension between conveying enough information about life/work here to give supporters and prayer partners the accountability they deserve  vs.   coming across as 'look at me', or somehow portraying that we are perfect missionaries or worse, distorting results.

In our slick, shiny US church culture, it seems that even missionaries get caught up in the hype.   With the pressure to survive on the donations of others, how to we communicate without distorting?   This is the tightrope.

You need to know that life on the mission field is the single most difficult thing I've ever experienced.  You need to know that there are so many moments of every day that I want to tell you about, but can't seem to get the words out.   You need to know that many days are just normal living - we aren't non-stop evangelists or humanitarian heroes.     You need to know that nothing accomplished here is our work - it is the work of many unsung, unspoken people who do not like thank-you notes or public recognition.

We want to be accountable to those who sacrifice to support our family and Reach Out Honduras.   It is a joy to be able to share the fruit of their investment.

But, what happens when 'results' aren't tangible or when 'results' are not what we or our supporters expected?    

What happens when our opinions of orphanages and orphan care have drastically changed?  What happens when the things we've seen with our own eyes do not 'fit' with textbooks on how mission work is supposed to go?     What happens if I'm the one whose life is 'saved' because I'm here?    What happens when we start to ask the very hard questions about mission programs in general?   

Instead of trying to walk the tightrope, maybe I should just throw myself stomach-down on the rope and inch my way across on my belly.  Safer, I suppose.... but I'd rather get it wrong at times, risk falling and move along with God at a good pace than crawl safely along and never reach the other side.   

As always, your thoughts sharpen mine.  


Clay W. Ginn said…
This may be just me, but I'm all for being honest. It makes my brain itch when so many people try to be fake in order to impress or to simply put on a good face for those watching. Those who contribute should be doing so to support God's work through you in La Moskitia, regardless of how clean or dirty it may be. Just like church work here in the states, sometimes missionary work can be clean, even glamorous. Often times it is messy and difficult though, because we are dealing with human beings.

Too often I see people try to put on a show to make themselves look better or more impressive in the eyes of others. I am who I am, and whether or not that is impressive is really not my problem. I'm sure who I am is not impressive to most people and that's fine. My ultimate judge is not the people around me. I will do what I am called to do with no eye towards what people think.

All that said, do the work God has called you to in Honduras. Be Jesus to those kids and others you come into contact with. Share the Gospel, share Jesus with them and all else will take care of itself. Sometimes the unexpected things can be the biggest blessings. I point you to our youngest daughter for proof of that.
Robin said…
Well said, Laura. Sometimes it DOES feel like a tightrope. We don't feel that we're anything special, just normal Christians, doing what He has told us to. But there is a balance between letting folks know just how life is here, and not appearing to be complaining about what we face, or making heroes out of ourselves. I, too, struggle with the seeming lack of results that we see. With what the precious people who support us might think, when the results are not what we anticipated, or even expected. But in the end, we are just called to be real, real here, real to those in the States. We are to plant the seed, water it, and let God give the increase in His time. I love you! Thanks for sharing your heart so openly!

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