The Area Director is a unique position from which to observe behavior, both our own and that of the missionaries that we serve. From this vantage point, I’ve come to realize two things: we’re incredibly resourceful and remarkably independent, often to a fault.
Let me explain: we take it upon ourselves to hustle. I’ve heard it repeatedly said: “pray as though it all depends on God, and work as though it all depends on you.” We take this mentality into every stage of ministry. And, although it often leads to tremendous productivity, it can also lead to tremendous amounts of stress. We take it upon ourselves to see that the job is finished, inevitably ending in self-judgment when we fail to measure up to our own expectations.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not writing this to complain about a lack of support in our organization. On the contrary, Assemblies of God World Missionaries are among the best supported in the world. But it’s often our own pioneering mentality that keeps us from taking advantage of the resources at our disposal.
A recent conversation brought this tendency into full view. As we met with a colleague about another issue, we came to find out that this particular missionary was injured, but, despite the risk of further injury, was single-handedly attempting to accomplish a labor-intensive task. We stopped the conversation then and there and offered our help, help unlooked for, but gladly received.
Of course, as we point the finger at another, we find that there are three pointing back at us. We ourselves aren’t immune to this determination to try to “tough it out.” I remember one occasion, attending a national event, having received news that Kelly had broken her foot, it took the strong encouragement of my mentor missionaries for me to make plans to return early and not leave my wife alone, on one leg, struggling to manage three children on the mission field.
Understanding this tendency, we’ve made it a priority to make ourselves available. By publishing our calendar and distributing it to the missionaries that we serve, they know when we are free to give them our full attention. By scheduling a weekly time of prayer, we’ve let them know that when they are weak they have an open invitation to receive moral and spiritual support, and when they are strong they have an opportunity to give it to someone else.
We know, these are but small moves in the grand scheme of supporting these highly-motivated and highly-capable global workers, but we feel that these are just the open doors that those who never thought to knock just might find themselves walking through. Thanks for your support which enables us to be there for them when they choose to do so.