I went back and revised my previous post three or four times this week. I just couldn't get it right; it wasn't saying what I wanted it to say. So tonight it struck me. Duh.
Grace. It's been all grace. That's what I want to say.
I know I've said it before. But as I look back over our ten years in Tanzania, that's really our theme.
One of the things that scares me about going back to the States is that people often see missionaries on a different plane. That somehow they are more spiritual or special or maybe halos hover over their heads. People always apologize when they cuss in our presence. Ugh. Please don't. Apologize, that is.
What I was trying to say in that last post is that it's all been grace. I've seen amazing youth leaders before, the ones who are able to get even the grumpiest student to laugh. That's not us. We came here young and naive. We learned on the job. We made a lot of mistakes. We screwed up some relationships.
A long time ago, a mentor told me that 90% of ministry is just showing up. And that's what we've learned. That God blesses those who show up. And keep showing up.
We have seen fruit from our ministry, and we have been tremendously blessed. But it's not because God has gifted us more than anyone else. It's because we just kept showing up.
Sometimes we get asked how we know we were "called" to live in Africa. I always tell them: It starts by saying "Here am I; send me!" Then opening your eyes, seeing a need you can fill, and doing it. Whether it's across the world or across the street.
The rest is grace. Because really, we are broken, wretched people who don't act very missionary-like on a regular basis.
Telling God, "Whatever You Want" is super scary. Until you've done it enough times that it becomes exciting.