14 July 2011
It is always good when you feel needed! In our eagerness to get out there and help others, share the gospel and generally reach out to others, we can often become islands, feeling isolated and alone. Jesus gave thanks to the father when the 72 "returned with joy..." (Luke 10:17). We are meant to share in the joys and share in the sorrows of our fellow missionaries, and give all thanks and praise to God. However, for many, there is a feeling of isolation and loneliness and efforts are made to press on with little-to-no feeling of support from the rest of the mission.
You would think that this only applies to individuals in remote places, but this can happen to whole schools and training establishments. It can happen to students and staff alike. It can happen to anyone and it creeps up on you. Just yesterday, we had a visit from a YWAM leader into our office. He was reporting on what God is doing and wanted to hear about some of the things that were going on around the continent. We welcomed him in, and he shared of the isolation that his family felt out 'on the mission field'. He said that they didn't have a visitor for 2 years and during that time they felt like they were forgotten. He brought this feeling to the regional leader, who encouraged him to be pro-active; he encouraged him to 'be the change'. And he did. Along with a team of young people, they are travelling around South Africa, visiting YWAM locations and hearing the stories, and sharing their own stories. There is mutual encouragement, which will be taken back with them to report on the great things that God is doing.
This is part of the vision of YWAM AfriCom and it is so good to see friends like this, who recognise the isolation that can be felt and can see the importance of sharing information and stories. We know that we cannot share all the stories or be in all the places where YWAM works across this vast continent. That is why we are encouraged by friends like this, who embrace the need to hear from others and the willingness to listen and learn. God is doing something in this continent to connect mission work. It's certainly an exciting time!