Saturday, January 10, 2009

Not All Easy

I'm not sure if I should blog about my feelings. But I want to record reality. So much of life is wearing a mask and pretending. That doesn't help other people - especially when it is a leader who is pretending. I feel ok now, but yesterday evening I was pretty flat. I didn't believe I could miss my kids so much. It is partly having been on top of each other for a week - I was really forced to get to know them better.
I was also struggling to see how Jesus fits into my ministry here. It is part of the cross-cultural thing, I know, but many African churches seem to exist for the sake of the church not for the sake of Jesus or of the 'lost' -interpret lost as you will!
I feel more optimistic this morning. I can see the good. I'm glad to be working with Rev Mathiti who understands the African way. I'm glad to be working in an environment that seems to be less formal than I feared it would be. And if I am just a mossie wiping its beak on Table Mountain then I will at least make my little scratches diligently - God will bring about any change that is needed in his time.
I'm going to try to follow Tim Chester's Bible reading plan for the next three years. I got it through John Scheepers' blog. It starts with reading through Joshua - which is just so appropriate for where I am now. Joshua was a new leader, going into a new place. He took over from another leader who was well-respected. But God went to great lengths to assure him that he was with him. And the people's promise to follow him is really cool (Joshua chapter 1). I just read through the induction service for Sunday and I can see the similarities to Joshua's induction. Very cool and very encouraging.
So part of me feels that I am crazy to be here - when I could be with my family and be comfortable, but I hope that I can make a contribution to growing God's kingdom in this place.


Steven Jones said...

Hi Jen

To be true, ministry is NOT easy (as I have experienced recently - see my latest blog post), and being apart from one's family is no fun either.

I've already been in Uitenhage for a month, but having had my family with me has been a real blessing. But tomorrow they go back home, and then it will probably hit me. As you can probably see from my post, "Buddies", although my son usually has far bretter dress sense than me, we are extremely close and I'll miss him like crazy.

Coincidently I'm also using one of those Bible plans designed to help one read the entire Bible in a set period. My previous congregation at St Andrews gave me a beautiful one-year Bible as a farewell gift, and it has done wonders for my devotional life - something I've previously battled with from a discipline point of view.

As I sit in my study this morning preparing for tomorrow's service, one of the lectionary readings about Jesus' baptism really struck me. In Mark 1: 12 we read that immediately after the Holy Spirit came down on Jesus, and the Father declared that He "is My Son, Whom I love; with You I am well pleased", Jesus was taken into the desert.

I guess that it is so with ministry as well - we are called by God, that call is celebrated through various services, then we are sent out into the harsh desert of ministry. I pray that God will send His ministering angels to you, just as He did to Jesus, as you continue this journey.

Blessings, and I'll see you on Tuesday.

Jenny Hillebrand said...

Yes, it's all about God isn't it? He challenges, but he also provides.