I had recently been asked to share a little of what I do everyday. So, I wrote a letter to one of our churches talking about my personal call to ministry in Africa (part 1) and my daily life/chores (part 2). There was such a positive outpouring from what I wrote that I felt that it was something that was meant to be shared with everyone. Below you will find the first part of my letter concerning my ministry in Africa. I will later share with you what I do on a daily basis. Please feel free to comment!
A Summary on the Ministry of Motherhood in the Mission Field of Africa
Before coming to Africa, I had such grand ideas of what sorts of missions I would be involved in. Mission Aviation Fellowship is very open in the different types of ministries the spouses can join. I thought of teaching women to become self-sufficient so that they could take better care of their health; I thought of teaching English to women using the Bible so they can get better jobs; I thought of working with children, feeding those who are hungry. I am many grand ideas, but God had other plans for me.
Once arriving in Africa, I had the opportunity to meet the spouses and share in their ministries. One woman helps with a group called “The Tabitha Project.” They take women who worked on the streets (as current prostitutes or soon-to-be headed in that direction) and they teach them the Bible and forgiveness as well as a local trade (such as sewing or doing hair). Another wife volunteers at a local orphanage, holding the children and providing them with the personal attention they desire and lack due to overcrowding. Yet another wife has become involved with the “Matadi Center” which is similar to the Tabitha Project, taking at-risk women and children and giving them an opportunity to provide for themselves by learning a trade. All of these ministries appealed to me in so many ways. I even had a woman ask me to teach her English. All of the grand ideas I had were laid before me. What does a girl do with so many choices? PRAY!!!
I took it all to the Lord. I began praying in earnest and with eagerness, telling God how much each of these ministries would be a perfect fit for me - the skills I can provide; the testimonies I can share; the joy I have in my heart. Like the pieces to a puzzle all the opportunities were waiting in a box and I asked God if I could begin sorting them. But God told me very clearly, “no, not yet.” I thought for sure God meant there was another opportunity waiting for me around the corner. So I waited. But nothing happened. I prayed again to God, crying out, “Here I am, Lord. Use me!” But God told me very clearly, “no, not yet.” Why was God denying me my chance to shine?
In the midst of my prayers, I was doing a women’s Bible study called “Discerning the Voice of God.” That Bible study was an absolute God-send for me. Working through this study I was able to more clearly hear God’s voice and discern his desires for me at this time in my life. God has asked me to take time to learn the culture and maybe even learn the local language called Lingala. He feels that my ministry is my daughter. While I was seeking self-gratification through ministries to help others, I was not looking before me at the chance to help my daughter grow closer to the Lord. I understand that there are many seasons in life, and perhaps my time to get involved in a local ministry will be soon, but not now.
While I want to share with everyone all the “great things” I am “accomplishing” by teaching locals all about God, I cannot. But I can tell you how my daughter faithfully bows her head before every meal and waits for me to pray. She even eagerly adds “Amen” to the end. I want to tell you about all the people I have met through local ministries, but I cannot. Instead, I can tell you about all the people I have met by taking walks with my daughter, who shines her little smile and wins the hearts of the locals. She even eagerly greets each person with a hand shake and says, “ça va?” to ask how they are in greeting. I want to share with you all about people I have begun to teach English using a French Bible, but I cannot. Instead, I can tell you all the new English and French words my daughter has learned.
There was a time when I felt disappointed with the idea that I was not out there, helping people every day. But I have to be honest; God has shown me the error of my ways and taught me an important lesson. The ministry of motherhood is a very important ministry that God has called me to do and I am eagerly taking this on with as much joy as I would have for any local ministry.