by Mary Beth Penner
PERU – Sometimes when missionaries share their stories, people don’t see the blood sweat and tears that go with them, but I can assure you that they do whether “at home” in Canada or elsewhere in the world.
You often have to fall to discover that you have wings; it hurts to get in shape; you have to obey in order to discover that your faith is well placed, and (as one dear friend once said) you might have to lower your expectations in order to enjoy life.
Here are some examples from my weekend. The bus takes an hour longer to get to its destination because of construction. Thank God for the city tour and the new sights the detour allows. Remember that I used to pray every week that they would fix the city entrance and now they are doing it.
A friend promised to come to church, but didn’t. Remember that God works in ways we cannot see. Just because she didn’t come, doesn’t mean the Lord is not working in her life. The fact that she expressed interest is already a huge step in the right direction.
My neighbour is ill and passed out three times in one day, banging her head and breaking her glasses. Be blessed by the extra opportunity it afforded to spend time with her. Be thankful for her son’s loving care for her.
The owners of the house I’m renting decided to sell and want to kick me out at the end of the month. Be blessed by the people who bend over backwards to help me find other options. Remember that they kick me out almost every January, so it’s really not all that new.
Nobody showed up for the teens’ hang out evening. Enjoy the peace and quiet by reading a good book. Enjoy the thrill on the kids’ faces as they receive extra goodies the next day because there is more food. Be blessed by the unexpected fellowship with teens brought on by a random invitation to an event the next day.
A little boy slips on the wet cement and gets a goose egg on his head. Be blessed for small-community kindness where one can go to the neighbours, ask them for ice and receive sympathy.
What happened this weekend? Answered prayer, love, joy and laughter, among other things.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future” (Jer. 29:11). So keep your head up. Nothing happens without a purpose.
Mary Beth Penner (Blumenort) works in Peru under EMC Missions with Serving in Mission.