It is hard to "be prepared." Although it is the Boy Scout's motto, I am not sure even "Boy Scout" (or Girl Scout) training could prepare me for the plethora of things that can and often do go wrong in the mission field. My frequent mission traveling companion has a "what if" bag. In it you can find a variety of medications, preparations and of course duct tape. We all know that most things can be repaired with a strip of the mighty-handy gray stuff!
I have been back in the states a few days and have been occupied with unpacking the boxes I left behind in my new apartment. I entertained myself watching the classic "Gone with the Wind" (for the hundredth+ time) and noted probably for the first time just how many incidents there were in the life of Scarlett O'Hara that she remarked, "I'll think about that tomorrow."
For a person of faith, "tomorrow" has enough evil of its own. (Matthew 6:34) We are reminded in the Word, to ask for "daily" provision, live and plan for today. When I was speaking of my schedule to my new apartment manager, he said, "Whoah, don't people in your line of work (he knew I was a missionary) ever get a day off?" I laughed and replied, "No, there are people always on their way to hell." He laughed too - but it IS pretty serious business.
We have to be ready, in season and out. When we feel like it and when we don't. When we are carrying a "what if" bag and when we find ourselves in the "oh, *#&" position.
We were in Russia during the season of "no hot water." It has always seemed so strangely odd to my Western mindset, that the government controls ALL the hot water and the heat piped into apartments and buildings. During the fall, before the unforgiving Russian winter freezes the ground rock solid, maintenance is done on the pipes. They know, if some malfunction were to occur during the winter, well.... nothing could be done (or at least without great expense) to fix the problem until spring.
But before you get too sympathetic to this missionary going "without," let me explain. Due to the economic change in the former Soviet country, people now are buying small hot water heaters for this "season." Our hotel had one room with just such a heater, and we were able to access it as needed (along with all the other guests). Our Russian hosts were embarrassed and apologetic. I tried to reassure them, if I am not battling bugs in the bed or showering out of a bucket, all is good and I am fine.
The predicament did make me think of the "preparedness" of the country. They know (both the government and individuals) what needs to be done before the coming months of winter. They work to ensure they are as ready as they can be for the long season of frigid temperatures. They know how to survive, they are familiar with discomfort.
We, on the other hand, are not.
We are irritated easily, frustrated frequently, and in general aren't very patient when things break down.
"But you - keep your eye on what you're doing; accept the hard times along with the good; keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God's servant." 2 Timothy 4:5 The Message
Over the short time we were in Russia, we ministered to close to 300 orphans. We encouraged the Body of believers, we supported each other, we kept the faith, we finished the race!
Thoroughly God's servant,
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