Our failures did not hold us back
OM just launched a video called “Our Story” which expresses how we desire to see vibrant communities of Jesus followers among the least reached. One line in particular stood out to me. 'Our failures did not hold us back.' I wrote it down to ponder on, not knowing that God was preparing me to put it into practice.
After almost one year of planning, I was so ready to go back to Africa more longterm than my previous visit in 2016. With lots of blessings and prayers, I stepped onto a plane heading to Hong Kong for the first leg of the trip. While I was still picturing the adventure awaiting me in my new home, the lady at the transit counter burst my bubble, telling me that I wasn’t able to board my next plane due to visa issues. I stood there trying to stay calm. Back and forth with different OM fields for hours, I was finally approved by the airline however the flight was already gone. I had to leave 24 hours later.
I’ve had experience with visa issues during transit, I knew it could be a problem. However, it still felt like I had failed. Tears fell down my face when she told me that the flight was gone. I was upset – not because I was stuck in the airport – but because I had failed myself and distressed all the people who had been praying for me. I was disappointed and felt I had wasted lots of prayers. How could I let people down from the very beginning? How could I fail even before I arrived on the mission field? I wondered if God had really called me to missions and if I was qualified for it. I sank into self-pity.
I saw the words I had written down before embarking: 'Our failures did not hold us back.' I smiled and sat down with peace. I knew the prayers were not in vain. Even though my travels didn’t go as planned and I made mistakes, they didn't stop me from going where God called me. I am not perfect, but God can still use me. I choose not to focus on my failures, but fix my eyes on the almighty God. He is not a teacher marking exams. He is an instructor helping me step by step.
We love to hear, or sometimes only hear, “success” stories of missionaries. However, missionaries are human. There are times when we don’t see prayers answered as we want, times when we don’t see plans work out and times when we fail. God is above all these. He is still sovereign. He helps us to move forward with hope from Him.
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” - 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)
My travels to Africa were 36 hours longer than planned. Indeed, there were failures. However, I learnt a great lesson. With the power of God, I will continue the race and see what God has in store for me. I will not let the failures hold me back.