I am on a media week right now. It is all new for us, and for AIM AIR, to have me steal away part of the time and help develop media for the mission. It’s also quite a change of lifestyle when I do. Getting up after the sunrise, and commuting only fifty feet to our media office here on the compound. Not injuring myself in the course of the day. Not fearing for my life. I do miss the flying a little (I must admit)… the smell of Jet fuel, the mud, the heart-stopping moments… but there’s plenty of it waiting for me next week. For now I get a chance to work on a few stories for future AIM magazine publications. We (our little team of three at the media office) have wrapped up a short video this week. But my current writing assignment, which is waiting for its third and hopefully final draft, has been the most interesting. It’s about a single missionary in Tanzania who works with people who have AIDS, and also with the orphaned kids. I spent a day with her some weeks ago, quite accidentally, and was really struck with the devastation AIDS brings. Sometimes it seems that all the children I see in Africa are heart-wrenching. But these orphaned kids are much more so.
So the gist of the article is about how this missionary goes out on a limb to minister to those afflicted and affected. She and I talked a lot about how this type of ministry could drain a person, and possibly burn them out. This is considered a bad thing in modern missions, which in a lot of ways patterns modern culture. Self preservation is a virtue. We are clearly misguided making it too high a virtue, but is it a vice? The balance is tricky sometimes, I’ll admit. What good is a burned out missionary? Then again…
I think about Jesus, and an assortment of apostles, who unwittingly (maybe) set a bad example for us. All those nights in prison. All that unnecessary interpersonal strife. Premature deaths. Imagine how many more sermons on other ‘mounts’ Jesus could have preached if only he had ten more years of ministry? Even five more. Even one.
We’ll, I haven’t finished the article yet. If you get AIMs quarterly, you may read about it sometime next year. But I doubt I’ll have an answer for you, or for myself. I don’t know how much to hold back in this life of faith. I’ve got kids to think about. I’ve got responsibilities… I need some kind of safety-net in case God isn’t sovereign after all, just in case providence is an empty idea… isn’t that really what I’m thinking? Man, I thought the flying was going to be more challenging than the writing.