July 28, 2017

A Letter From the Mission Field

By Contributing Writer, Candace Sabo

UKPOYBWO Church Building taken 19/06/11

Today was a long, hard day.  There is much work to be done here among the natives.  Each day brings a little progress, but then some days, it feels like we’re getting nowhere.

I’m tired.  And I’m trying not to grow weary in doing good. But the long, laborious days remind me that I can do none of this in my own strength.  Things are messy here, and messes require cleaning up.  And the cleaning up seems never-ending.

A couple of the younger natives haven’t learned to use the communal potty in the village, so I must stop what I’m doing to clean them up often.  While leading Bible study, one of the native babies spit up everywhere, so I had to change her clothes and get her settled.  I was tempted to give up on the study after several interruptions, but I knew I needed to press on and persevere.

It is difficult leading the people.  I fail daily, and they see it.  I get tired, cranky, and I lose my temper sometimes.  Thankfully, the natives show me much grace and continue to love and welcome me.  I am learning unconditional love from them.  I pray that my daily failures will teach them that we have forgiveness in Christ, and that our very failures show us our desperate need for a Savior!

When sickness invades the village, the days only get longer.  The nights pass with little rest, I sometimes feel like I can barely function.

Today, I saw some successes.  I taught the natives quite a bit.  I showed them how to wash their clothes.  I worked with another in learning the language, and I am currently teaching two of the natives how to read English.  It’s draining at times, but I know that once they learn, the world will open up.  I also had to prepare large amounts of food, as usual, but nourishing everyone brings me joy.  Most of the natives can now pitch in on the daily chores of the village.  Some are obstinate, and grumble when they must do something, but I use that as an opportunity to point them to Christ.  And how Christ came to serve.  And as they mature a little, I see progress from the daily consistency.

Some days, the work load seems like too much to bear.  Some days I wonder if any good will come from my ministry here.

But other days, like today, when the little natives are clinging to my legs, or another takes me by the hand and melts my heart, or a little one asks me to sing a song to her, or another is diligent in his work, or the people of the village are loving and serving one another, it makes it all worth it.  And on a really, really good day, the Gospel is shared, and another soul is won for the Kingdom.  Discipleship begins, and the Great Commission is being fulfilled.  Right here in this little village!

Please pray for me as I minister to the people here.  I ask for God’s provision of strength, endless love, abundant grace, and perseverance.  Pray for the people, that they would continue to grow in God’s word, His love, wisdom, and service.

Some of you may be wondering where God has placed me……

My mission field?

Home.

 

Moms, you are missionaries fulfilling the Great Commission.  Do not grow weary in doing good.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9

Photo Credit


Comments

  1. I love this post so much! I am indeed in need of this reminder that home is my mission field!

  2. Oh, how I loved this post! Thank you!

  3. ” I worked with another in learning the language…”- my favorite line. Said a prayer for you!

  4. Thank you so much for your post. I am a wife and mother of three… and a missionary in a remote tribal village. I often struggle with the pressure I feel to serve my family and serve the people in the village. I have to go before the Lord daily to seek HIS perspective and be okay with being misunderstood by the people when I choose to focus on my ministry of the “natives” at home. By the GRACE of GOD, my husband and I have become fluent in this before unwritten tribal language and my husband is currently working to translate the Bible into this language. I have a supporting role in this and I also minister to the ladies in the village. That said, there is always SO much more to do. I have been praying for guidance in how I need to view my ministry at home. Then I read your post. I read how you ministered the “natives” and was so amazed with your ministry. When I realized who your natives were, it made me smile and it was also sobering to realize how easily we are impressed by outside “ministry” when the relentless giving and serving we do at home is truly a feat as well. Thank you for helping me. Thanking God for another day to serve my “natives” among the natives!

    • Wow, Tiffany! I can’t tell you how humbled I am by your comment! I just read it for the third time, and have chills all over again! I have to admit, when I first wrote this letter, I entertained the thought that…

      “what if a missionary out in the field (as in…a remote location, like you) reads this and gets a little offended by the comparison….”

      Because while my mission at home is worthy and difficult work….I am still in the comfort of my home…not amid challenging conditions or elements. So to read your words, and how God used this letter to encourage *you*…..HUMBLING is the only word that comes to mind!

      Thank you so much for sharing this, and in turn, encouraging me! I will be praying for you as you work diligently to minister to the natives at home, as well as the natives in your village. I am so in awe of the work God has tasked you and your husband to do…particularly that you have learned the language, and are now translating the Bible into it. Wow!

      Will you please share more about yourself…where you are….and how I (and other readers) can pray for your ministry?

      Blessings!
      Candace

      • Hello Candace,
        It was so wonderful to receive your note and see how the Lord has, once again, used the body of Christ to encourage one another. It is amazing how, though we likely live half a world apart, our mother’s hearts and struggles still have much in common. And God in His grace is the same… abundantly working in our lives.

        Well, you asked me to share a bit about myself and the ministry my family has the privilege to take part in. We live in a remote tribal village in Papua New Guinea. It is a village located in the swamp filled interior of the country. We are missionaries with New Tribes Mission and the village in which we are living has a strong church that was planted by fellow New Tribes missionaries. We are working alongside the believers in this tribal church to reach out to another language group that lives a few hours hike away. Our village and this other language group, Tangguat, have intermarried for many years and so there are several believers in the church that are bilingual. After an intense season of 18 months of language/culture study, my husband and I were marked as “fluent” in the Tangguat language and able to start the process of Bible translation! (That was just this past May.) We have also developed a literacy program and the first literacy class for the Tangguat people is going on now. Many of the students are “big men” in the Tangguat communities that have never attended school before. The students will graduate in September from this four-month course. The bilingual believers that are our co-workers were able to take on the teaching of this literacy course from day one since they had been trained in literacy in the other language. The believers are also taking on the primary role in writing the chronological evangelistic Bible lessons that they will use next year to teach the Gospel from Creation to Christ in a Tangguat village next year. There is much more that I could share, but that in a nutshell is what the Lord is accomplishing for His glory with the weak vessels here in the jungle. ☺

        But as the Lord is so faithful to remind us… that is only part of ministry to the “natives” here. ☺ My other ministry and one that can exhaust me and give me great joy each and every day… are my three kids ages 8, 6, and 4. We homeschool year round since there are so many interruptions and travels that conflict with school so we just finished our school year last week and are taking a week break. Then will get back to it…starting 3rd grade and 1st grade! Living in the jungle has it advantages… my kids are not bombarded with messages from the world each day and they have a greater appreciation for living simply and what the reality of hard work, sickness and death looks like in the lives of the people around us. But it also has its challenges… being far from family and friends that speak the same language and relate in the same culture, not being able to take a “day off” when we are weary, and so often being misunderstood. But didn’t Christ deal with the same things when He came to this earth? And through this all, I find great comfort and joy in the fact that the daily hardships and rawness of life draws me closer in utter dependence on my gracious Savior. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t have to cling to Him as my all-in-all.

        So, you didn’t really ask for a novel ☺ but I hope that some of what I have shared will be an encouragement to at least one other woman out there. So often when people think about living in the jungle, it is the filth, centipedes, snakes and malaria that people think would be the hardest. But it is not. It is often the same struggles that we deal with back home… the challenges of motherhood, missing family and friends that live far away, and the temptation to compare ourselves with others and become discouraged. And the remedy is the same. GOD’s GRACE. I am not someone who naturally thrives in this environment and it amazes me each day that God’s grace is truly sufficient and He has chosen to give me the privilege of serving Him here.

        Thank you for the encouragement you are to the women out there who are often being told that motherhood is not worth it. God’s Word says much different. Each of us mothers have the opportunity to pour into the lives of our children and pray towards the miracle of the Gospel opening their eyes to GOD!!

        By His Grace,
        Tiffany

        • Tiffany, I’m amazed. Thank you so much for sharing this! God bless you and your family and the work you’re doing. 🙂

        • Tiffany…wow! It’s so wonderful to hear more about your ministry and your family. I LOVED the “novel”. 🙂 Thank you for writing again.

          God is so good to connect believers all over the world to encourage one another. I will be praying for you and your family as you serve God in the jungle, and find balance in ministering to your “natives” at home.

          My oldest daughter went to Costa Rica, into the remote jungle to minister to the Quebecar Indians. In fact, my best friend is a missionary there. They have worked hard to learn the language and build relationships with the people. It’s so amazing to see God at work in the far reaches of the earth. My second daughter has traveled to Africa twice to minister to orphans. Both girls particularly loved the simplicity of the people.

          I have more I want to say, but I’ll switch to email. 🙂 Thank you again for writing here. It has been a blessing and encouragement to talk with you!

          Soli Deo Gloria!
          Candace

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