Some days, that is really hard. Because we listen to a lecture in Spanish for hours straight. That can be exhausting.
But it’s also kind of awesome. Because we are learning how to do what we came here to do.
The first class we took was Fundamentals of Church Planting. Because right after Love Extreme, we will begin the work of planting churches here in Arequipa.
And our current class is Cultural Anthropology. I took a class like this in high school, and got college credit for it. But it really is different learning the study of culture while immersed in a culture. It is different talking about culture shock when you are experiencing it every day in one way or another.
So anyway, I like class most days. I know, technically I’m a college dropout, and I should want freedom from classes. But actually, since I “dropped out,” I have been reading a ton, and trying to learn more. And I get to learn about what I’ve always wanted to do, while actually doing it. Best of both worlds.
Last Thursday, we watched a movie about William Carey. This was one of the things I wasn’t thrilled about, because I’ve studied William Carey, the Father of Modern Missions, several times at SNU. Nothing new about learning his life again.
But I was wrong. It’s a different thing to study a biography of some famous missionary while you are on the mission field. Because you realize, he is not
a saint who experienced something totally separate from what I am going through. Like, did you know that when William Carey preached, the people couldn’t understand him because his speaking was so bad? This missions hero also struggled with language! And actually, he had everything going against him from the beginning. There wasn’t a missions agency to send him, and when he suggested it, he was told, “Sit down young man! If God pleases to convert the heathen, he will do it without your aid or mine.”
But he went anyway.
He told God, “Here I am. Send me.”
His wife didn’t want to go. He struggled when he got to India. He had money problems. He had trouble learning the language. His kids were badly behaved. His son and wife died. He had everything going against him.
But he’s our missions hero.
This ordinary man with everything going against him translated the Bible into five languages. After years without a convert, he was able to share the gospel and lead many to Christ. He began schools. And he ended the grotesque practice of burning widows on their husbands funeral pyres.
But he is not that different from the missionaries I live with. We are the same. We have said, “Here I am. Send me.” We have surrendered our lives to God. And he will give us the strength to do what he has called us to do, the same way he did for William Carey.