Just like John, Marta and the rest of the folks at Wing on a Prayer, I recently traveled to the other side of the world. I wrote about a similar grueling trip in Commitment, before I actually took a similar trip myself. Though I've flown to other countries and could relate to the travel, that was in service of the US Army and with a well rehearsed movement plan.
However, on a different mission, there is more travel and not as much of a movement plan. The only real military style strategy is our phrase "Semper Gumby". A phrase we borrowed that reflects a severe discipline to practicing an incredible amount of flexibility. This state of mind starts with departure and layover times as well as the 21 plus hours of just sitting on a plane.
When you cross many time zones, you find yourself wondering what time it is. But sometimes there's no frame of reference like for instance 35,000 feet above the south pacific. So, you wonder after 9 hours of flying time whether or not you should be concerned with what the time is at home, or the time it is in the layover country still 8 hours away. Once you land in the layover country, you still have to wait four hours for the next flight and then travel another 7 hours to land in the country of your final destination. But wait, there's more, you still have another long travel through primitive roads to get to one of the mission opportunities. That's what makes missionary work fun and adventurous.
Once you hit the ground, the real work starts, and the schedule unravels. The only thing you can really count on is the value you add while serving others, sometimes on a moments notice. On mission, you rest when you can so you can be ready to share the Gospel. For a short two week trip, it takes almost that long to gt your body set to a 12 hour time difference, but you don't rest. You work and pray to stay engaging and helpful. You might have a rest day scheduled, but then receive a last minute opportunity to give a bible study to a group two hours away. Semper Gumby!
Doing things of God is rewarding. Whether its feeding the poor, telling a bible story or providing hope, the work is valuable and timeless. Writing about mission work puts me in the mind set to pray for missionaries. Though the stories in Commitment are fiction, they are based on the love and devotion these heroes display every day as they serve a loving God and show the love of Christ on a daily basis.
Jeffrey W. Bennett, ISP is an author of non-fiction books, novels and periodicals. His goal is to travel the world and share the gospel.