There is just no way to sugar-coat it.
Living in Madagascar is no easy task.
As beautiful as the landscape can be, it can also be just as harsh.
When the summer heat rolls in and dries everything to a dust that settles on everything in your house, you clean as much as physically possible every day, but it just moves right back in and makes itself right at home.
The heat also means that because the electricity is sporadic, you will need to conserve as much energy as possible when it is on, conserving enough that the back up battery will power up your refrigerator for the long hours that it’s off.
Showers are a relief, but not always possible… the electricity powers the pump.
Clothes hanging on the line, water jugs with purifiers, boxed milk and bleached fruit, and I am reminded of the blessing of modern conveniences that we often take for granted.
This isn’t a post to make you feel sorry for our missionaries–they wouldn’t want that–it’s more of a lesson on awareness–of the sacrifices that they make to serve the Savior,
…when at times we mistakenly think that we’re making a “sacrifice” just to attend church once a week.
AND a reminder for me that it is the simple pleasures of life that bring us the most joy.
Like cold Coke. Flushing toilets. A gentle breeze. And sharing make-believe tea with a two-year old.
We don’t always get to choose if our life is easy or difficult. All of us have difficult days, but it should remind us to be thankful when we enjoy days that are carefree.
Even missionaries enjoy an occasional trip to the beach or an evening out at a local restaurant.
“Seek the Lord while He may be found; call to Him while He is near. (Isaiah 55:6 HCSB)”
Whether our life is comparatively easy or extremely difficult, we share a common denominator:
We choose a response to our circumstances.
Am I going to believe that God is in control, or not? Does He not SEE and KNOW what is happening in our corner of the world? Was HIS suffering in vain? NOT AT ALL! He Himself says,
“A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.” John 10:10
The problem is, in our secular society, we have come to believe that “blessing” and “abundance” are both directly related to our physical possessions and comfort. If we’re not careful, we start to think we are “owed” something instead of being willing to work hard and give God our best.
Some of the most content people I have seen in life are the ones who have very little, but are grateful for what they do have.
Whatever our experience is in this life, our circumstances will change us: and make us either bitter or better. We choose which path we take, and it is the path of obedience that will lead us to joy, no matter how smooth or bumpy it might be.
We are constantly changing and growing and learning–but God never changes. He is our one constant. He gives us standards to live by and promises to trust in. His way is always perfect and His faithful love will follow us wherever He leads us.
And He is GOOD.