The Supporting Cast
October 4, 2009
It’s been almost three months since we set foot in Africa. This trip has absolutely flown by; I don’t know where all the time went! As this trip comes to an end I can’t help but think back on our time here—all the adventures, all the lives that have been touched and the people who have been healed. We have seen God do some amazing things this trip from the people helped and healed at the hospital through my dad’s surgery to the orphans that we helped my mom care for. As I began to think about our time here, something troubled me and for the longest time I couldn’t put my finger on it. Finally, I realized that I was frustrated because of all the great things God has done here, none of them directly involved me. This made me so upset! We are on a mission trip and we are supposed to be making an impact, but as far as I could see, I didn’t do any of it. My mom organized all the care for the orphans while my dad worked hard in the hospital all day. People were being touched and lives were being changed, but it didn’t seem like I was a part of it. Sure, I went to the orphanages and sometimes helped out in the hospital but I didn’t think this added up to much. I selfishly thought to myself, “Good grief! I’m on a mission trip and when we get home people are going to bombard me with questions about the projects we were a part of and I’ll have nothing to say! I don’t have any interesting stories or any fascinating surgeries to report on. What will I say?” Thinking and praying on this, God really began to help me better understand why I’m here (in Kenya).
God showed me that my assignment on this mission trip is one of the most important that I could have been given. My mission and my assignment is to be a cheerleader—cheering my dad on and supporting him in what he knows God has called him to do. It may sound simple, it certainly isn’t very “glamorous”, but this is what God asked me to do this trip. As I thought more about it, everything would be different if I or one of my siblings had a problem with coming here to Kenya. What would happen if I constantly complained about being here all the time or complained about the food or accommodations or the lack of friends or the comforts of home? It would be incredibly hard on my dad and he wouldn’t be able to fulfill, to the fullest, what God has called him to do.
At first, I didn’t think this was fair! How come He got to have all the “glory” of actually being one on one doing all the important work on the mission field? Why does he get to experience all the cool stories? Why is he the one who gets to lead all the people to Jesus? I will be honest, I was jealous! It didn’t seem right to me, I was making a sacrifice just like he was…so what’s the deal?
Well, just this past weekend I spent my 14th birthday in Nairobi with my parents. We had tons of fun, getting away from the mission compound and hospital. We laughed and did a whole lot of talking! As we were talking I was sharing with my parents these feelings and through their encouragement and loving acceptance of my feelings, I realized so much! I began to realize that being a support to others in ministry isn’t so bad. My dad told me the story we all know so well, the story of Moses and the Israelites battle against the Amalekites. As the story goes, Joshua was leading the Israelites in battle against the Amalekites. As long as Moses held his staff in the air, the Israelites would be winning but whenever it he lowered his hands the enemy would have the advantage. I’m sure after hours of holding his staff in the air, Moses grew tired and weary. His arms grew wobbly and unstable. He couldn’t let his arms down or the Amalekites would win! But then along came Aaron and Hur to help Moses, to hold his hands in the air. I can imagine this image so vividly! Moses, being an old man, probably somewhat frail and feeble grew weary of holding his heavy staff above his head. Aaron and (especially) Hur, I imagine to be strong young men, tall and masculine. Surely they wanted the excitement and the adventure of being down in the heat of the battle. Instead, Aaron and Hur had to set aside their chance to be brave in battle and instead take a supporting role holding up Moses’ arms.
This makes me cry as I write because this story so well paints the picture of the last 3 months for me. How frustrated and jealous I was that my Moses and my Joshua, my dad and mom, were in the middle of the so apparent mission God set for them. I didn’t like that I didn’t have clear mission like them! But then my view was altered by the grace of God! He showed me that my mission was being an Aaron and a Hur. My mission is to lift up my dad’s arms when he grows weary. My mission is being in second place. I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else but where God wants me.