12 November 2007

Mentor Monday--Heather Jamison

Heather is a missionary in Kenya along with her husband, Brian, and their kids. They have been involved with church plants, setting up church training, establishing primary schools and water wells, working with an orphanage, and engaged with AIDS/HIV victims.
That's a busy day.
I asked Heather to share her struggle in her ministry. I've learned one thing about missionaries: they're everyday people with everyday struggles and doubts who have chosen to follow God's calling anyway. Thankfully, Heather is willing to open up about her struggle and doubt.
I'll let her say the rest...

Today was our 7th anniversary in Africa. We arrived here, sight unseen, on November 5th, 2000. I still remember landing and being certain that I would surely die the second I stepped foot on African soil and breathed African air.
I had seen CNN. I knew what Africa was like.

I crammed my little 5 year old Jordan’s anti-malaria pill down his throat as we taxied to the gate. He spit most of it back up which assured me that he, too, would probably be dead before week’s end.

Um, I’m not exaggerating.

When I say that I had EVERY fear in the world about coming here, well - - - I can’t say it any more clearly than that. But even though I didn’t want to come here nor would I choose to stay here should God give me the green light to turn this work over to someone else and head back to the States (um God???), I can definitely say that I have seen a side of God here that I never expected to see. Not because I didn’t complain. Nor whine. I did. I remember one person who used to support us (she was actually our largest personal or church supporter at that time by far since we came here on a shoe-string budget) who wrote to us after we were here a year and said that I should stop whining because I wasn’t making the name “missionary” look good. That person no longer supports us here. But, thankfully, God does. Not that God likes for us to complain - He doesn’t. He says not to do it. But God is patient, forgiving and gracious with us and He takes our doubt and complaints and during those, He teaches us contentment, peace, surrender, discipline and diligence - but mostly He teaches us His faithfulness. He teaches us His forgiveness. I still complain. I admit it. I wish I didn’t. But I do. I still get scared silly. Illness scares me. Danger (thugs, roads, Africa) scares me. The threat of disease scares me. Lots of things scare me. Making a wrong decision scares me. Choosing to partner with a wrong person scares me. But hopefully my fears and complaints are less than when I first came 7 years ago. And they are now coupled with a hopeful assurance that God will walk me through them to teach me something and to make me stronger and more humble.

Thank you, Heather. I pray that God continues to work in and through you.
You can visit their family website or Heather's blog (doesn't she have a great name, folks?).
If you're interested in the ministry she does with the orphanage, go to their website, Adopt-a-Legacy, and find out how you can help provide basic needs for a child and education.

One more thing--in case you haven't noticed, I'm horrible at titles. I can sit down and write prose for hours and hours, but ask me to come up with a couple words in a title and I'm paralyzed. If you have any suggestions for an alternative to "Mentor Monday" I'd love to hear them. Leave them in the comments. Thanks!


Jeanne Damoff said...

Thanks for your honesty, Heather. It may sound strange, but your admission of fear and doubt are encouraging, because God has sustained you in the midst of them for seven years. And you have remained in that place, a living sacrifice, allowing Him to do His will. I think of the verse that says we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works that God has foreordained for us. He makes us and chooses the work, but we have to be willing tools in His hands. And often we're called outside our comfort zones.

Thanks for this post, and thanks for all you're doing in Kenya.


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