Today, I am feeling discouraged. I shouldn’t be. I know better. And, there isn’t anyone to blame. I feel like blaming the island of Cyprus, because it is an easy scapegoat with its many inconsistencies. But, today, there is no one to blame.
Today Elisa and four other ladies were stepping forward in faith and obedience. Today was their baptism day.
By the way, I love baptisms. They are my favorite part of Christian life – a willing, joyous act of obedience to Jesus. Elisa was actually chiding Calvin today, who is not yet ready to get baptized, “Calvin you should get baptized. Jesus said to get baptized. You should do it.” How simple and wonderful baptism is – proclaiming to the world, “I follow Jesus. In fact, because He said to get dunked in water, I’m gonna do it, even if you think it is silly or nonsense. He’s my King. You, world, are not!”
Well, today it didn’t work out. Our church borrows another church’s baptismal pool. There was some miscommunication and there was a Chinese church worshipping at the same time our ladies were to be dunked. You can’t really be too upset and say, “Please stop worshipping the Lord. We need the pool.” So, it didn’t happen. These ladies were saddened that they weren’t able to follow their King’s command. Some tears were shed. We prayed for these ladies and as we finished, I looked at Elisa. Her face was sullen. I gestured for her to come near and she broke down into sobs, “Daddy, I can’t baptized. I so wanted to be baptized today. “ My heart broke for her. I had no good explanation or any way to fulfill her desire to do what Jesus said to do. Another lady who recently accepted Christ and was so excited to be baptized today fought back tears. I am discouraged because there was nothing I could do to help these ladies.
It seems that I am not the only one subject to being discouraged lately. In the scenario above, I didn’t mention my Pastor Rick. As our shepherd, his greatest desire is to see us follow Jesus. Here, he had five ladies wanting to follow and no way to make this happen. After several phone calls, the best he was able to do was say, “Sorry, we’ll have to reschedule.” He knew those words wouldn’t cut it for these ladies. But, that’s all he could do. I believe this discouraged him, today. (I have to say that there is much that Rick is doing that is going well in ministry…somewhere between 7 and 11 commitments for Christ in the last few weeks, as an example. God is working through Rick’s leadership.) But, today, I have a feeling it wasn’t fun to be the Pastor.
I follow a couple of blogs of people in ministry. One woman serving and living in Israel, amongst the refugee population, risking her own safety for others, was attacked and was forced to defend herself this week. Today is a particularly hard day for her. You can read about her here.
Another daughter of the King is in the process of seeing God restore her after her husband and ministry partner left her and the ministry. Her story is one of disappointment, discouragement and longing for the Father’s hand to repair, restore and redeem. Her life is hard right now but she presses on. Read more here.
I think my point in bringing these things up, is to petition you to remember to pray for those in full-time ministry. Especially pray for those serving in contexts that are not very friendly. Often, these servants aren’t wanted there. Often times, living daily life is just more difficult for cultural reasons or because the government makes it hard for them to exist. Life serving full-time is guaranteed to be difficult (Cyprus isn’t the most difficult place to serve). Those of us serving know that. It’s ok. We live, ultimately, not for this life but for our eventual home-going in eternal glory. So, it’s ok that it is difficult. But, there are days when we need you to petition the Lord on our behalf, for encouragement and courage to continue. Because, some days, the many little and sometimes big challenges surround us and make it seem…impossible…or not worth it…or even, if we were honest, not fun enough.
Apart from today, it’s been pretty good for our family lately. We miss our family and friends quite a bit. But, for the most part, life and ministry are going well. So, to take this anomaly of today and redeem it, would you do the following?
Today, would you pray for those you know who are pastors, missionaries, lay-ministers and servants? Would you also remember to pray for those mentioned in this post – the five ladies wanting to be baptized, the two from the blogs and for my Pastor Rick? Thank you for allowing us to vent and to humbly ask for your prayers.