Don’t think twice, it’s alright: part I
Photo by Andrew
Being a traveling journalist for OM in Africa allows Andrew to reflect on God’s sovereign control of his life as he visits different ministries. Recently, Andrew returned from a three month trip that took him to three OM fields. In this two-part blog Andrew reflects on what God taught him throughout his travels.
Camels are like roller coasters
Mounting and dismounting a camel is just a little bit like life—which is to say, like riding a roller coaster for the first time.
To let you climb aboard, a camel—which is taller than a horse—will first get down on its front legs, then lower its backside so the process is more like climbing onto an animal than scaling a mountain. It’s something of an adrenaline boost, taking hold of the saddle and hoisting yourself onto the camel; even more so when it raises itself on its back legs first and then the front, giving you the sensation of being pitched forward like you’re taking the first drop on a roller coaster.
The same thing happens when you dismount: front legs first, and you pitch forward again, clutching the saddle to avoid flying face-first into the sand. But in between the mount and dismount, the ride is rather relaxing and uneventful (not in a bad way).
Exciting bookends on either side of a routine ride: an OM work trip I took to north-central Africa. As it’s a part of the world where Christians—especially missionaries—face potential persecution, I was thinking my trip could include some risk of personal safety. Thankfully, my visit did not include any danger of any kind. But I did get a camel ride and some great food.
And I did hear stories from an OMer who has served as an English teacher at that location for 15 years. I visited a football pitch with another OMer, who coaches young men and mentors them with Christian love. I got to watch a local in action, a former Muslim who now plays a popular card game with his friends for more than 12 hours each weekend, looking for any opportunity to share the gospel with them. Maybe not as thrilling as I’d envisioned, but much more meaningful in the scope of eternity.
I’m not really sure what I expected when I agreed to “do missions” in Africa, but honestly, I think my expectations were similar to how I approached my trip to central North Africa: action-packed, non-stop excitement. A roller coaster.
The problem is, missions work is completely relational, and while bonds can be made in the thrill of adventure, relationships are forged in the mundane. God’s true worker in the field of His harvest looks more like someone who goes row by row, gathering fruit by routine—not someone who swoops in and wildly begins hacking off grain with an axe. That’s flashy, but it’s not usually how God seems to work.
In Africa, with all my thirst for adventure and itchy feet, I’m learning to serve God in the routines of each day, or the seemingly innocuous conversations that don’t appear to have any purpose.
You can read my stories from central North Africa on the OM news website.