It is hard being a missionary.
I won’t lie. It has kicked my butt for going on 10 years now. There have been times where I thought there was no way I could go on another day. Depression, disillusionment, disappointment, dread…sometimes they seem like constant companions to me. And they are bad friends.
I was talking the other day to a good friend who wants to be a missionary. “Be careful what you wish for,” I told her. I wanted to be a missionary once. And look where that got me.
I stopped wanting to be a missionary like 6 months after becoming one. In complete culture shock, having been lied to by one too many people, struggling to find my way in the confusing unnamed streets of Tegucigalpa, lonely, with still an inept sense of the language, being whistled at by beady-eyed men on the streets, feeling like I was getting nothing done as I stood in yet another line, trying to begin a ministry that looked oh-so-different then it had in the States, and feeling like I was failing in every single aspect of it.
Add to that the complete silence of God. It was like He left. Took off. Took one look at me and realized I was not worth His investment and went to look for someone else. Someone more worthy of His time and affection. And on the way out the door, He left the door open to the Enemy. It was like He said, “have at her.” And the Enemy wasted no time.
So there I am…having thoughts I’d never thought before, temptations I’d never had before, fears I’ve never felt before, in a place I’d never lived before, among a language I’d never spoken before, among people I had never known before.
Fun times. Who wants to be a missionary now? Not me. And yet…
I’m still here.
Turns out, God didn’t take off when I thought He did. Turns out He’s pretty invested here. With me. Turns out He did let the Enemy in, but then came kickin down the door like a jealous husband when I cried out to Him. Turns out He wants me here and has defended me on every turn when I’ve been depressed, disillusioned, defeated and disheartened.
So, yeah, its hard being a missionary but it is also extremely…amazing. Since last time I wrote, I’ve had 2 camps for the disabled, 2 short term teams, 1 national youth camp, and 1 retreat for pastors and their families. The camp is being rented out almost every weekend where we don’t have an event scheduled. With this last team from Garden Spot Village in Pennsylvania we finished the cement floor of the multipurpose building, built a storage closet, and finished the painting of the new dorms. Kitchen cabinets were built and installed and so were shelves for the kitchen pantry. A team from Seoul Baptist Church in Houston came in June and planted some beautiful gardens, painted and helped put on the single-most dynamic camp for the disabled that we’ve ever had. This year’s national youth camp was incredible. And God did such amazing things. Sometimes I sit there as these events are going on, and I’m watching God work, and I just wonder to myself, “how did I get chosen to do this?” A kid calls me after youth camp is over, thanking me for inviting him and he tells me, “I really want to follow Christ. This time I’m serious.” I watch as two leaders are praying with a disabled girl who wants to trust Christ. I see a pastor holding hands with his wife as they go walking off together to talk about their marriage.
Seriously, I get to do this stuff! I get to see this stuff. I get to participate in this stuff! Amazing!
So, yeah, being a missionary is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. But it is also pretty darn amazing.
So, hey, will you pray for me? I’ve been walking yet another hard path in this missionary/life journey but I have to say, God has been so good to me. He has been speaking to me and pouring His love over me like I’ve never quite known before. And He’s tearing things off of me and pulling out roots from inside of me…and it’s kinda hurting. Like a lot. But He’s being so tender and kind at the same time so…it’s good. But it still hurts.
So will you pray that He will finish the work and that, when it’s over, I will have an undivided heart.
I would also appreciate prayer for the 3 remaining big events of this year: a pastors/leaders conference with Michael Wells, an international speaker who speaks on the Abiding Life in Christ (Oct. 6-8), a camp for the blind (Oct. 21-22) and a conference for women (Nov. 11-13).
Bio: Michelle Crotts is a missionary for International Teams in Honduras. She attends FBC Prescott when she is home where her parents attend. You can view more information about her here.
In celebration of our first short term missions trip next year, I have re-posted a guest post from the missionary we will be working alongside for a short time in conjunction with Faith Barista’s community post one-word, “Follow.”