We have such high expectations when we move overseas.
Of our ministry.
Of our God.
And many people have given me advice over the years to beware of these hopes and dreams and lofty ambition.
“Keep your expectations low, and you won’t be disappointed,” they say.
“Unmet expectations lead to frustration and depression,” they say.
“Expectations are an open door to disappointment,” they say.
If you’re new to the field, you may hear some of these things, too. But let me warn you in my own little way, if I may.
Those of us who have been serving abroad a bit longer? We may have become jaded. We may have forgotten what energizes us and catapults us out of bed in the morning. We may be so far removed from the people we were when we first stepped onto the soil of our host country, that we forget.
Those expectations? They’re what moved us overseas in the first place.
At some point in time, we believed we could make a real difference. We believed in the power of ministering to other people. And we believed that the work of our Father was mightier than anything we could ask or imagine. Any we believed, deep down, that we would witness the Glory of the Master sooner rather than later.
But sooner became later for some of us, and we tired from praying. We tired from waiting on results. We tired from carrying a workload much weightier than the one we thought we’d bear.
And now we’re here, welcoming you to the field through the filter of our own baggage and our fatigue.
The truth is, we need your energy. We need your hopes and dreams and lofty ambition.
We need you to remind us of the Mighty God we serve. We need to hear what you believe can happen in this place. We need to be in the presence of your faith-filled prayers.
We need your fresh ideas, your fresh perspectives, your fresh resolve.
Just as Paul wrote to Timothy, don’t let anyone look down on you because you’re young in experience (1 Timothy 4:12). Don’t let anyone despise you because you’re new to the field. But set us an example.
Meet our burnout with your kindled flame. Bring life to our prayers with your earnest petitions. Remind us what it was like to see our neighbors, our villages, and our host nations with fresh eyes.
Be encouraged. There is much to learn, yes. But there is also much to give.
You may be new to the field, but you ARE NOT LESS THAN. And may those of us who have come before never treat you as such.
I say, BRING YOUR EXPECTATIONS. Let’s dream again together. And let’s pray to the end that those expectations will be far exceeded in your service abroad.
What are you experiencing as you attempt to find your place in your new community abroad? How are you partnering with seasoned veterans on the field? What can you learn from them? What can they learn from you?