Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Is there such a thing as a furlough for lay missionaries?

Okay.  I admit.  I am writing this blog on a day of high anxiety and frustration.  We are being bombarded on many fronts, and the troops are weary of fighting, particularly the generals.  
I am a firm believer that missions happens every day.  God takes many overseas.  Others he places strategically in the US.  Our family's mission field is New Jersey.  Please save the sarcasm.  Though we did not have to travel much past our front door, God has given us a mission to many who may have never heard the gospel much less have seen it lived out.
That said, it would be nice to  have a furlough.  
I just finished an autobiography of K. Abernathy who, along with her husband and daughters, spent time serving in the jungle of Liberia.  She spoke from a realistic perspective, but she also showed her passion for where God had placed her as a mom in the middle of the African bush.  She needed only to step on to her front porch before the needs of that nation addressed her.  She and her husband served in Liberia until a Civil War forced them to leave.  Much of her writings stemmed from her journal which she kept faithfully giving a real feel to the danger, humor, and challenges of such a life.
Towards the end of the book, she explained the blessing and curse of a missionary's furlough.  It gave me pause to question.  I had read so much of her daily life and how that had molded her and her family.  She shared both the successes and failures.  She loved her family in Africa, but longed for some American normalcy and time with her family in the US.  She knew that God had specifically led them to Liberia and was doing a great work in and through them, but she also knew that there needed to be a break to regroup and refresh.  
It appears that missionary furloughs get mixed reviews.  It is not hardly a relaxing time, and much of it is spent traveling to visit supporting churches.  Yet, they have stepped away from the pressures of their mission at least for a short time.  
This is where I find myself today.  I do not want to walk away from the mission that God has definitely called our family to.  There are hearts still to hear and see the gospel.  My five year old is very close to a personal step of faith.  I know that God is doing great things in and through all of us.  Yet, we are tired. We are weary.  We are worn.  We are stretched.  
A furlough is really not a practical solution, I know.  We take little breaks every once in a while, but never as an entire familly.  I am learning that God gives us what we need for each day.  It is just that these days have been a little tough lately.  
Please excuse the negative tone of this post.  I know that God's plan can not be overturned.  We are asking Him to fulfill this plan quickly so there can be a little more normalcy and some sweeter family time.  
I am forever grateful to those of you who continually pray for our family.

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