It’s been a long road, preparing to go. You have finally arrived and begun learning the language, meeting the team, getting to grips with a new culture. There are different-looking streets, buildings, and yes, even the people look different. They dress differently and behave in a manner you’re unaccustomed to. All you had expected and prepared for is different now you’re here.
Preparation began 15 years ago when you were challenged in a meeting about the unreached people in a faraway country; a people group you had not even heard of before. But God touched your heart and put his passion there, for these people to get to know and follow Jesus. There was training college and several years of study and practice. Lots of discussion in meetings and churches, sharing your heart, all the time straining for the day you could leave. Gathering support, convincing unsure friends and parents, learning more about the people through a short-term trip. Saving money, sacrificing every cent to have the funds to go.
You love meeting people, listening to and sharing stories. For you this is best done using your art skills: your eye for colour, form, pattern, line comes alive with a watercolour pencil in your hand, a thick sheet of the finest watercolour block in front of you, ready to birth something beautiful. You could have been an artist, teaching in a studio, exhibiting in galleries; but you chose to forgo that so you could use those skills as you witnessed in a faraway place, discipling others into a relationship with Jesus.
And then it happened. Unbelievable! Why would they ask you? Is that even needed out here? Doing that would mean less time for your passion.
Someone is needed to keep track of the gifts and donations received for the team ministry. The team wants you to be the treasurer. To count and give out money, to record it all and fill in papers for those at home and the Government here. Three days a week in an office - well a sort-of office - with dirty money, collecting, counting, banking. And what is double entry bookkeeping anyway? Reports in triplicate?
You ask, “Why do I need to be a bank teller? That’s not going to get the message out to people, I can’t share while in an office! Why Lord?”
Why? The reality is because many people who like counting and banking and triplicate don’t think they are needed in missions. Their role is unexciting, it doesn’t grab the hearts of supporters. Not many see the need to go. Not many want to support people in those roles.
Yet an even greater reality is that these people, these skills, are needed both at home and overseas. These are the wheels that keep teams turning, that enable others to get the gospel out. The most critical part of any army has always been logistics. It’s no different for those out on mission.
Just imagine: How effective would your church be if your pastor was also the treasurer, secretary, I.T. support and website developer? Even more so in a different language!
Jim Lambie is the Leader of WEC Australia’s Support Services team