Trusting God in Fiji
One of the components of Year 13 that originally attracted me to the course was the overseas mission trip. I’ve always found the idea of mission overseas an exciting and strangely compelling one, and two previous trips I’ve been blessed enough to go on have done nothing but increased my fascination with them.
It’s quite true that a short term mission can have more effect on the team going than on the people they are going to. The rush and readjustment of a new culture, the emerging of gifts previously unrecognised and the forced closeness of a team that bonds acquaintances into lifelong friends can dramatically change a person’s life... and hopefully, for all of us going with Year 13, for the better.
For me, personally, I want this trip to be a time of examining; a time I can come home from with a clearer idea of what kind of ministry God wants me doing in the future, and a time where I will be challenged to be more passionate in sharing the gospel with my non-believing friends and family members.
So, basically, I’m expecting this trip to be a time for growth; spiritual, emotional and possibly even physical (our schedule will be rather draining, and will, I suspect, push my limits). And while this is one of the reasons why I love Short Term Missions, I’m not looking forward to this.
Growing hurts. I only grow once I’ve been made vulnerable, once I’ve been challenged, rebuked or confronted. I open up myself to God and to other people when I break down, when I realise mistakes I’ve made and things I should have done but have neglected to do.
Maturing as a Christian will come at the cost of denying myself even further, taking up my cross, following the path Jesus laboriously laid out for me. I’ve got to learn to submit to God’s will, even when I disagree with him.
Something I’m not particularly pleased about is the way I think God will use me. I suffer from fine and gross motor dyspraxia, a minor disability which slows down the messages the brain sends to various parts of the body, making it up to seventy times more difficult for me to handwrite, kick a ball or speak clearly. Which kind of sucks.
I don’t want to be known as the ‘dyspraxia kid’, but I’ve come to realise that the most effective way God can use me is through my weakness. Firstly, he can use my perseverance to encourage other members to keep on going.
But more dramatically, I think God could use me mightily in a culture where disabilities are often looked down upon, and in the worst cases, seen as divine punishment.
I want to be used by God for his glory, but I’d rather he used my strengths rather than my weaknesses. But the one who gave me both my strength and weaknesses knows best. I’ve got to trust in him with all the strength that he gives me. I’ve got to keep on trusting him through all the difficult, stressful times in the month ahead, just as I’ve got to keep on trusting him through all the enjoyable, encouraging times as well. He will bring me through.
Jonathan Mills is one of the Youthworks Year 13 team heading off to Fiji for short term mission in June. More Bula Blog entries will be posted as the trip progresses.