Yes you must have proper motivations for going to the mission field. Glamour and glory don’t enter!
Yes you must be mature enough to be in it for the long run. At least, if you want to make the greatest impact—and on others, not just yourself.
Yes you must be able to deal with the harder things. This morning, I woke up with so many incredibly itchy, burning flea bites I couldn’t think of anything else for 10 minutes.
That is, until I was figuring out how to get ready for the day without electricity (which also means no water—and no internet).
But you know why we put up with it all? Why the 50% of missionaries who do NOT give up within the first year stick it out? (Apart from the obvious: God Himself sustaining us, the support and encouragement of friends and family both here and abroad, etc.)
I am blessed to be a friend, mother, boss, fellow volunteer to Rosi, Maria, Silvia, Ana Maria, Teresa, Esteban, Jhoselin, Luz, Kevin, Jose, Alejandra, Luis, Victoria, Katrina, Elena, and dozens of others. I stay here because I love working for/with all of them!
When the loneliness and pressures of missionary life threaten to overwhelm me, I look into the faces of the 39 children who will eat nutritious food all day, drink safe water, play like carefree children, and sleep in warm beds.
When I’m fed up with the bureaucracy and paperwork hurdles and constantly waiting on a “mañana” which never comes, I remember the adopted children in loving homes and all of those still waiting for their forever family.
When I can’t fathom the abuse and neglect and abandonment our children have suffered, I admire the work of the 16 women and 1 man who pour out their lives on a daily (and nightly) basis on behalf of our children. And this, not because of some grand paycheck that could actually repay us in full for what we do, but because we love the children.
(And a new example: the lack of sleep and 2 hour round-the-clock feedings are all worth it as the triplets thrive!)
Very few of our staff members have ever quit, and many volunteers have stayed well past their initial service period, or moved here permanently, because the people we serve break our heart, motivate us to do something, and work their way into our lives in a such a way we can’t imagine doing anything else or being anywhere else in the world. I myself never thought I’d be here nearly 6 years, never away more than a couple months at a time, but I can't pull myself away from these people.
I put up with irritating flea bites and the dangers of bridge life because I want to see Carlos and Eli, and Sergio and Dayana, living in a house with their children. The alternative is subsisting under a bridge, desperately trying to drown their pain in drugs and alcohol because their children were violently torn away in police raids and sent to orphanages. And it’s not like I’m some kind of saint, just putting up with these kids outcast from society. I genuinely enjoy being with them, and getting to know who they are under the tough “street face”. When I introduce them as my friends, I mean it!
And so many examples more... But our power just came back on and I need to use the internet as I deal with a mountain of office work before the 1pm triplet feeding!