Growth Spurts

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I hate starting a new job. It makes me feel like running back home where I am comfortable. I do not know my way around the area. I need to learn names and adjust to new personalities, and asking questions makes me uneasy. I feel self-conscious, knowing I stand out as the new person. Plus, with a new job, I do not exactly know what I am supposed to be doing.

I guess God knew I needed to grow out of my fears because, as a missionary, I am encountering these same challenges on a grander scale.

I have exited a temperate climate and modern environment for a tropical climate in a remote area. I cannot go anywhere outside the mission property without someone local to help me. I do not know how to eat, dress or protect my melanin-deficient skin from the intense sun. I have an entire village of new names and faces to learn—many of whom are my newly-adopted relatives—and I cannot communicate with most of them because I do not speak Gogodala yet. My family is the center of attention anywhere. The skills I thought I had do not really fit this new life.

I have tried to get things under control, but despite schedules and plans, my time refuses to be managed. Visitors with wounds to bandage, bugs discovered in my flour bin, or someone sick in our house simply change my day. I never accomplish a fraction of what I intend to do.

Praise God! Outside my comfort zone is where I grow. In my helplessness, I am clinging to Bible promises and praying—my life depends on it. God’s grace shines through the cracks of my weakness. The discomfort becomes something beautiful, and my Gogodala friends can see God at work inside of me. As I currently muddle my way through my sixth month as a missionary, deep in my heart, I hope this new job will never get old.