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Job Description, Please

September 4, 2016

As we get ready to leave (9 days!), I was trying to think of answers to the most common questions we will receive.  I was, in one sense, trying to justify my existence as a missionary in Kinshasa.

I stumped myself.  I couldn’t justify it.  My daily life, at least as I was trying to ponder things I did and goals I have, is ordinary.  I cook, do laundry, home school, and try to keep and manage a household.  And the things I could list that make my daily life different from my American counter parts, such as having house help or prying larvae out of my children’s faces, aren’t actually specific to mission or ministry.

So, I concluded that I clearly am doing something wrong.  I am following the call to be a wife and mother and live in a place I wouldn’t choose to call home on my own, and I am completely content and joyful in that.  But I have no awesome stories of leading people to Christ.  I don’t lead a Bible study.  Let me be honest with you: I do not have any Congolese friends outside of MAF or missionary connections.  

As I realized that my missionary role here was clearly nothing to write home about, I got a little down.  Matthew does amazing work.  I listen to my friends who talk about their relationships with the people they’re ministering to or how how their ministry is going.  Why wasn’t I involved in something more? 

I realized a lack of time was an issue.  Where was my excess time going?

Then I noticed that my time outside of my home and family was spent on people.  We were under the weather last weekend and early last week and I realized that not having guests suddenly freed me to be able to focus on getting healthy.  Which we did.

And just in time: Thursday I took a new missionary wife grocery shopping to show her the ropes.  An hour after getting home, our family was in the pool in the compound where another MAF family lives.

Friday night we hosted that new missionary and her family, including four kids for dinner.

Saturday morning we had brunch at our house with a family (three small kids) that had just arrived back in town after a summer in North America.

And an hour later were spending time with another family (three kids) at their house for the afternoon.

And each Sunday we host an afternoon fellowship time with a potluck, hymns, and a Psalm.  Today we had nine adults and seven small kids.  Plus a guest arrived to stay in our guest room until Wednesday: an MAF pilot from our program in the east.

Tomorrow we host a family of four for dinner.

I’m not bragging, or trying to one up anyone at how awesome we are.  I think that I’ve decided for right now, God is using me and my available resources right where He needs.  

I have had the privilege of helping new missionaries ease their way into Congo life.  I have been at the receiving end of encouragement and good medical advice and treatment (one of the families is a couple of doctors, another where one is a nurse).  I am happy to host and have been blessed with an amazing space to do so.

In the end, I concluded that my ministry is unique in that I can offer Western hospitality to people who might need it.  Maybe that’s not “good enough” for Missionary of the Year and maybe I’m “supposed” to do something directly with Congolese people, but right now, I work and rest where I see God has placed me.  And I’m good with that. 

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Jan Allen Lind permalink
    September 4, 2016 0829

    So. You’ll not guess that Catherine and I spent the afternoon writing interview questions for your busy day at brookwood. We do need to talk

    We also want you to help us buy Amazon toys for your visit and trip Try to call Monday. It is a day off

    Love the dad

    Sent from my iPhone Jan Allen Lind, MSPM, CSM Cell 4047191261


  2. September 4, 2016 0829

    I get to feeling this way too sometimes. I think its a common thing of us “supporting” spouses. It feels hard to find justification for this role, but mostly its only to others who dont understand. I hate that us supporting spouses have to feel like we need to defend our role at all to others. Why ISNT it enough to just support our spouses in that mission for our culture? Love ya and SO GLAD you took the time to figure it out and make peace with it – and then write about it!

  3. Judy Pankow permalink
    September 5, 2016 0829

    Lisa, you have a ministry! The ministry of hospitality which God called you to! You were given that beautiful home for a reason. You are witnessing everyday to the Congolese people around you in your actions-how you love and treat your husband and children and others in a Christ like manner and all to the glory of God! Hope to see you soon! Aunt Judy

  4. Charlene Davis permalink
    September 5, 2016 0829

    I enjoyed reading your post and I have to admit I wondered what kind of missionary you were but I see now. God has put you in the communication end of it, to communicate to new missionaries and help them adjust. You have also helped families as they are adopting children. You can also be a missionary to your children by teaching them the love of Jesus in your home. I admire all you write about that you do and homeschool with 4 little ones. As things slow down in your home maybe you could start a mom’s group with your neighbors if there are families close by. You and your family are in our prayers as well as the other missionaries. Charlene

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