(journal entry from the village, early October 2016)
It’s 6:30 AM, early by many standards, yet I feel like I’m running way behind schedule. I’ve already made coffee, fried eggs, peeled and boiled manioc root, set aside a bit of food for the cat (my coworkers are in the city for a few days so I’m taking care of their new pet), and various other little tasks.
Thinking back to life as it was three years ago, I loved my job as a home base visitor for Head Start, but don’t remember waking up every day feeling like I just couldn’t wait for work to start. Of course at 6:30, I was usually out forcing myself to jog or having a blast ice skating. But my new job is one I love even more, one I dream of doing well at and giving 100% to, not because there is a boss looking over my shoulder, but for Jesus! And the motivation is not to meet demanding performance standards (although He does see everything), but because I love Him with all my heart. I want to work, serve, love and live well, because He died and is worthy to receive the glory of His suffering. Actually, when it comes right down to it, I don’t even have to DO this job. I just need to rest in Jesus, trust in Him and follow His direction, depending on Him to do HIS work in and through me.
So back to today. I can’t wait to get out of the house. I just want to go and know, see and be, hear and taste, experience and live this culture with these friends.
This organic, jungle-grown, GMO-free manioc root is delicious and buttery, enhanced by a sprinkling of parmesan cheese and oregano, yet it’s hard to choke down in my excitement to get on with the day. Who cares if this is my 64th day in this little Amazon village? I want to follow the advice from a professor in one of our classes in the training institute.
Live like every day is your first day in the village.
I don’t remember if he explained exactly what that meant, but I interpreted it this way –
Live every day with excitement, joy, and enthusiasm, refusing to miss out on the opportunities that surround you. Live every day for Jesus, by His grace, remembering that He is the one who called you and equipped you. He is the one who will sustain you and be glorified in you. Be of good cheer! He has overcome the world and He is with you always. Jesus is building His church in every corner of this world, and you get to be part of that!
As long as we remember these things, my friends, every day is an exciting adventure. Whether our journey with Christ takes us to a jungle village, a bustling city, or the hometown where we grew up, the same truths and principles apply.
As for me, specifically, though, will you please pray that I will not just write these words but act on them, depending on God’s strength alone? I am not enough for these things, but HE is. Pray that I will live every day like it is my first day here, with these wonderful people, serving our awesome God!
Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God. – Jim Elliot, missionary to the Waorani people in Ecuador –