What are you willing to endure for Christ?
Our mission trips often take us into some very remote locations and some locations that are not remote put extremely impoverished. Staying in remote or impoverished homes can come with some challenges for us as Americans especially around hygiene.
A home were we stayed in Kenya had no running water and no electricity. Our bathing area was an open air plot outside the home with a fence around it that came up to about eye level. The shower consisted of a bucket of water, fetched from the local river and warmed over the fire and a sponge. One bucket of water was shared between two people. As I bathed, I watched the sunrise over the nearby mountains, listened to the roster crow and heard the cow getting milked in the pen next to the shower. The scenery was breathtakingly beautiful but having someone milk a cow so close by as I bathed was a little unsettling. But that was our only option. We did not bathe daily because of the shortage of water in the area from years of drought conditions. Living like a Kenyan during these trips really shared the love of Christ with our host families. Romans 12:16 in the NLT reinforces this attitude: “Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!”
Our orphanage in Nepal has electricity and running water most of the time but does not have any kind of heating system for the home. You can see your breath inside the house during the winter months. We usually go to bed with as many layers of clothing on as possible including hats and gloves just to stay warm. The home does have showers but it is not fun to shower when the inside temperature of the house is in the 30s. The children at the home bathe about once a week during winter because of the cold. Nepalese girls all have long beautiful dark hair and many have lice, probably due to the hygiene issues. When we visit, the girls love to play with my hair because it is so different since I am blonde. I love them to braid my hair for me. It bring them joy, it brings me joy and it shows that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. Yes, I have come home with lice a few times. But the smiles and connections I make during the hair time is worth it. Philippians 2:2 shows me “Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.” During such times, I am truly happy no matter what comes home with me.
Most of the issues we have endured during our trips are mild problems. We have endured happily in the name of Christ. But a time is coming when we all will face real persecution for our Christian faith as told in 2 Timothy 3:12: “Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” I can endure bathing out of a bucket and I can endure lice but how will I react to actual persecution for my faith when it occurs? How will any of us react. I like to read the stories of martyrs of our faith but I wonder if I will be able to stand such tests for my faith. My hopes rest of Luke 12:11-12: 11“When they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not worry about how or what you are to speak in your defense, or what you are to say; 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” Wow, that is powerful And I pray that I will have the strength in Christ to endure whatever the future holds for me and for all of us as Christian. Is your heart, soul and body ready to defend your faith? I leave you with a verse to remember during the trails ahead.
Deuteronomy 31:8 “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
Christ will be with us in all our trails and tribulations, we just have to accept and believe in Christ so that we can stand with Christ during those difficult times to come. God Bless you.