You know, honestly the first couple days were absolutely great.
The highs of actually being on the blessed ground of European soil,
Everything seems to be the grass that was greener on the other side dream come true
Everything is your long lost childhood fairy tale unfolding before your very eyes,
It's like a romantic relationship, the first 18 months are just beautiful,
then the 19th hits you like the Iron Curtain in your face with nowhere to escape,
I remember my somewhat naiive missons self not to long ago, back in the month of June, in Germany,
I really had no idea what I was getting myself into,
or exactly what God meant with the whole "Eastern European missionary calling",
9 months is not really that long of a time,
but I believe it is long enough for honest reflection of experiences.
I would like to be an encouragement to my brothers and sisters in Christ who God has called to the European missions field.
Let's be honest. It's hard.........like really hard.....like deathly HARD.
After the rosyness of life melts away,
and you're walking a deserted pathway,
with the blizzard of Siberia screaming in your face,
when the depression of reality sets in,
and it hits you.....so God.......you've called me to be an "Eastern European missionary"....
Ka? Tikrai? You seriously must be joking.....OR obviously not.....
I would like to reflect on missons in relevance to the continent of Europe, but what I have learned so far I'm sure can apply to some extent across all cultures.
You have to willingly let yourself be judged by others, not once, not twice, not even three times, but one too many times than you would have liked. and in the midst of this judgement you must still be willing to bear the image of Jesus Christ and turn the other cheek. This my dearest friends, is NOT easy. When you feel like an outsider and don't belong in the country God has called you too and the people you are called to minister to around you look at you like "What the bloody hell are you doing in my country?" it can be hard to stay spiritually strong. I know that feeling. I really do.
You must be willing to trust God admist the darkness of this world. When your eyes are opened to the reality that your country of missons is #1 with suicides, and topping the charts with alcoholism and many other issues, it's crucial to remember that regardless of what it may seem, God is still in control and He has not forgotten your country. It's easy to look at the desperate spiritual needs and become depressed that you are one person, and your country is dying in search of the truth, and you feel like it's just too much, and that you just want to give up and take the next plane home. It's tempting yes, but it's important to take into consideration that if God called you to this country to do ministry, He believes in you and will see you through, and help you to accomplish what He started for His glory.
You must be willing to surrender your dreams, visions, and expectations of your missions country completely to God. It's hard because I know from my personal experiences, I dream such overwhelming evangelistic dreams for Lithuania. It takes strength to learn to be patient when you know that God is going to do great things within the next several years. You must remember as you find yourself struggling along in uncharted territory, not to lose hope in the dreams that God placed on your heart for your missions country. They may not happen right away or like you would have planned, but you must keep the fire and passion in your heart alive and never give up on them. These dreams were not put there by accident no matter how ridiculous or irrelevant they may seem.
I pray and hope you find encouragement and refreshment in these reflections dearest friend. Know that you are not alone on this Eastern European missions field, with all the hardships, struggles, and joys you face along the way. <3