Friday, June 6, 2014

I'm Not A Missionary

Before we ever went on our first mission trip out of country, my husband was deeply involved with Habitat for Humanity. (In fact it was due to this connection with Habitat that the first mission trip to Costa Rica in 2001 took place.)  Bruce jumped into work parties with H4H with his whole heart and pretty soon the joke about me being a 'Habitat Widow" on weekends was standard fare.

I do not have the physical strength nor stamina to pound nails, lift walls into place or install windows, and truthfully, I don't wish for it. I'm not saying I don't care, because I do, but I'm just wired differently. I will-- and DO-- however, get up on mornings Bruce has an outreach project going, to make sure he's well fed before he leaves and has nourishment to take with him so he will have the fuel he needs to get the job done. I can't do the projects but I can support him in this.

While I score high on the scale for compassion and mercy, I am much, much lower in rank than Bruce. His #1 gift is Compassion. He is also gifted with speaking words of affirmation and truth. He loves to find out what makes a person tick and will listen attentively to your story and ask questions to draw more of your personality out in order to know and understand you better. This is probably one of the first things I came to know about him and undoubtedly, one of the reasons I fell in love with him. Because of his compassion and listening ear, he tends to attract what we lovingly refer to as EGR's. (Extra Grace Required) And while his grace is not limitless, he is able to extend it much more of it than I can.

So where does that leave me? While I do score high in the compassion/mercy category, my #1 gift is Helper or Serving. #2 is Discernment which is probably why my mercy gift sometimes falls short of grace. I can't seem to muster much patience or grace when my BS Meter is shrieking. But together Bruce and I make a good team: I keep him from giving away the farm and he keeps me from kicking people off of it!

The out of country mission adventures we've gone on have been another example of how we are well-suited for each other. In addition to swinging his hammer, he has good administrative skills and organizes work parties beautifully.  I am good at documenting what the team does, and because a picture is worth a thousand words, this is a priceless contribution. (and I have to admit, it's taken me time to come to a place where I could see that as an asset to the team)

Here on the home front, we have come to see our placement in our church on the mountain as our current mission field. We both have leadership abilities, we are mature in our faith journey and we're pretty much  willing to be Fools for Christ on a regular basis. Again, Bruce has thrown himself in whole heartedly with community outreach projects, leadership in bible studies and just being a strong shoulder for other men to lean on in times of trials. While I'm a little more cautious about my level of involvement, I have none-the-less been his back up person, support person and cheerleader for all he volunteers to do. I am learning to be more obedient to God's nudging about opening our home for entertaining, knowing that God will also give introverted me the energy and grace I need for a evening of extroverted involvement. I am learning, thanks to Bruce's lead,  about being more open to allowing our home to not just be MY safe place of refuge, but a place of safe refuge for others also. Our role as small group leaders has been a place for us to really put this into practice.

The other night as we sat out on our back deck, watching the coals burn down in our fire pit, we were talking about our team effort as husband and wife, to minister to our church family. When our conversation drifted into talk of our LIFE (small) group, I remarked that it was Bruce who really made sure our group was grounded. He is clearly using his gifts to connect with our group members. I recognize it goes far beyond our LIFE group though; many of the guys at church are drawn to him and he spends many hours offering prayer and encouragement to them as needed. I went on to point out that that is not my forte. I can handle a small circle of friends-- and I do mean SMALL circle, but even that wears me thin quickly. I love my people but I have to do it in small increments. STILL, I so understand the VALUE in people being connected, which is why I am the Life Group coordinator for our church campus. I can't be the one who reaches out to all the EGR's, I'm not likely to be the one who offers timely wisdom and sage advice. But I can and will help you connect with someone who can!

Like I said, I'm not a missionary.
Or... am I?


  1. Well it sounds like you're using your gifts where God has placed you. Concerning being a missionary or not I would say with a resounding yes that Yes you are! But aren't all of us called to that post? Being a cross cultural missionary is not the call of all but it just happens to be mine. Http://

    1. Yep! I think that was the point of this blog post -- examining the part I play in this thing called life and coming to realize that everything we do-- overseas, or locally, can be part of God's plan for sharing the Light of Christ with others. I hope other people who think they can't do "big things for God' will realize that they can do what God has planned for them. Big or small, we all have an important part of play.


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