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Saturday, June 6, 2015

on contemplating missionary service

The decision to come and serve on the foreign mission field is a tough one, both for those considering a short-term opportunity or a long-term commitment. We often forget this, as God has grown in us a fondness and love for what we do.

On one hand, it's never going to make any sense.  You will never sit down and say "this could really help add to my savings, advance my portfolio, and put me in a better position financially."   The truth is, you will likely end up paying to work there.  You will never say "that sounds like a good opportunity to live with relative ease. I'll have my nights and weekends free, and all that I want will be at my fingertips."  The truth is, the schedule here at RVA is quite full for 13 straight weeks each term, weekends included, and much of life in Africa is inconvenient. In a typical American worldview, RVA (and all missions work) will never make an ounce of sense.  

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What it boils down to is that living and working at RVA is not an occupation like one in the states.  It's a service.  You likely won't gain a single thing monetarily from it - in fact, it will cost you.  You likely will have to eat food that is slightly different than you're used to, live with things in your home that don’t work quite right or aren’t built quite right, and be inconvenienced regularly when a culture much different than yours collides with your own. Not to mention, the internet is slow and Nairobi traffic is a nightmare.

But our service is to the Lord alone and our purpose is the advancement of His Kingdom, til He returns.   We have the AMAZING opportunity here to teach and disciple and welcome into our homes children of missionaries serving in the HARD places. 

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We had a staff appreciation chapel on Thursday morning, where our school board read letters out loud written by parents of these missionary kids.  Parents serving in closed countries writing to us about the necessity of RVA to their ministry, for their children to have a safe place to attend school.  Parents writing notes of appreciation for men and women of the faith on our staff who sacrifice comforts and salaries to invest in their children so that they can remain in the hard places, building relationships and loving the lost into the Kingdom. 

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It's not always easy, but it is rewarding.  We have a fine staff of about 120 people who pray together daily and share meals and fellowship with one another.  We have men’s and women’s bible studies and accountability groups, and we worship together each week.  It's a community.  Not only that but we're sent and encouraged by a community that we love and miss dearly in the states.  We have the love of the body in two places.  People faithfully committed to giving so we can be here and people faithfully serving alongside us here.

The rewards ARE great, but most of them are not going to be in this life.  This is Kingdom building, and Kingdom investing. 

It's teaching, yes, but its so much more.  It's service.  It's sacrifice.  It's flexibility.  It's teaching something or leading something you're not completely comfortable with because it's a need, and we live to serve.

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If God lays on your heart to come out to Kijabe and serve at this fine school or if He lays on your heart to serve in one of those HARD locations or with one of those HARD people groups, I guarantee it will not be because of any earthly gains. This decision will never make sense and it will never be at a convenient time for you.

It will be because you want nothing more than to offer yourself as a living sacrifice to be used in whatever way is needed at the time, with the talents and abilities God has given you, for His Glory and His purposes.

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