Samuel Zwemer, as quoted by Dick Brogden, writes, “Frequent set- backs and apparent failure never disheartened the real pioneer. Occasional martyrdoms are only a fresh incentive. Opposition is a stimulus to greater activity. Great victory has never been possible without great sacrifice.… Does it really matter how many die or how much money we spend in opening closed doors, and in occupying the different fields, if we really believe missions are warfare and the King’s glory is at stake? War always means blood and treasure. Our only concern should be to keep the fight aggressive and to win victory regardless of cost or sacrifice. The unoccupied fields of the world must have their Calvary before they can have their Pentecost.”
In the field of the un-reached, no matter the location, there remains one constant necessity in the character or attitude of the pioneer – unfailing perseverence or resilience in the midst of hardship. Trials, opposition, risk, illness, and death are well known to those who work on the front lines. The pioneer is, and must be, a tough and resilient breed. This does not mean that we do not falter, that we do not feel, or struggle, or grow weary. It means simply that we persevere…we endure.
In the wake of the current events in Nepal, and the hardships being endured by so many, we see a very present need for this type of M. Nepal needs people who endure. There is a very real need for those who are able to stand alongside our Nepali brothers and sisters, and ride out the aftershocks, and the fear, and the loss, and the grief, and stand firm beside them in the strength of the Lord.
As Dane and I prepare to leave in the coming week, our hearts are heavy. We are faced with a very real need for rest and recovery ourselves, and the blarring reality that there is still so much to do, so many to help. My heart aches for those who are hurting, those who are grieving, those who are hungry and without shelter. We feel that our part is so little, but to leave seems almost wrong. I do not particularly care for the feeling that we are flying to a place of safety while our friends remain in danger. It is a luxury to have a place to escape to, and there is a sense of guilt that I cannot shake because while I long for safety and rest, I care more for those here who not only face a physical need, but an eternal one as well.
The stress of the events here have brought on their own physical manifestations, and I know that what this 29 week pregnant body needs is a chance to sleep undisturbed, and to relax completely in a place where I am not constantly braced to scoop up my 2 year old son and rush out the door. The day the second big earthquake hit shook us more than we expected, and recovering and moving forward has taken a step back. That day the stress caused my Braxton Hicks contractions to increase significantly, and they became strong enough and close enough that we began to time them and worried that I might need to get to the doctor. They subsided enough to ease our fears, but the stress remains while there is still a risk. We have begun to refer to this type of life as the “new normal.”
No matter how I try I am still incapable of articulating my feelings and this experience, so I try, a little at a time, and it never seems to measure up or accurately portray what’s in my heart. We are broken. We have many things that we look forward to for this coming year, as we transition our ministry focus and to life back in the states, and I believe it is what the Lord is asking of us…for now. I trust Him, whole-heartedly. But leaving is still hard, and as our days here dwindle down to this final week I cannot help but feel sorrow. This place has a way of sneaking into your bones, so to speak. And to leave during a time of such fragility and desperation makes it all the harder.
Please continue to lift Nepal in your prayers. This will be a recovery that will extend through the years, long after the stories have faded from the news, and people forget as thoughts of and sympathy are replaced with the newest scandal in pop-culture, and the most recent vine circulating through facebook.
Our hearts will still be here, and so will our friends and those we consider family. They will be tired, and we will be praying for their continued strength as they pour themselves out in service. The Nepali people will be rebuilding their homes, and laboring hard each day to provide food for their families. We will be praying for provision. Those that have lost will be mourning, and we will be praying for comfort. Many will be trying to cope with PTSD, and we will be praying for peace, and against fear. And most importantly, as many are searching for understanding and hope, we will be praying that they will find it in Jesus Christ, who is our hope and salvation.
Will you pray with us?