Lately my biggest failure has been in communication.

It’s a bit obvious considering I haven’t even logged into this blog since my last post in July.  When I sit down and think about writing up a story I just can’t even make myself type. Sometimes I start typing and the story gets way too long; OR I avoid the whole thing completely because I’m just too busy or too tired.  There are so many experiences and adventures I’d like to share but lately I’ve had this communication block.

It’s common knowledge that relationships suffer when communication isn’t good.  It’s the same way with God – when we don’t take the time to constantly communicate with Him, we miss out.  Just because I’m a missionary doesn’t mean it’s all of a sudden easy to do all the things that people imagine missionaries do every day.  The same challenges to maintain communication with God (and people) exist in Africa as they did in everyday life back in Virginia.

I shared my dilemma with one of my missionary friends and he suggested looking back in my journal and pulling the most important and meaningful information from there.  So that’s what I’m going to share, even though the journal writing has been a challenge these days also.  I’ll admit, it makes me uneasy to put these inner thoughts out there on the web, but I hope it will be an encouragement to others and a peek into the struggles and joys of “missionary life”.


Here are a few thoughts and prayers from the past month:


25 August 2013, a prayer

A month has passed since I’ve written in this journal.  These pages should be filling up by now but most are still blank.  It’s like a glaring reminder of my struggle with lack of good communication – with YOU and with others, of my thoughts and of Your goodness.  The spirit within me is becoming faint because I’ve gotten caught up again in everyday life and people’s needs and have reverted back to relying on myself more than on You.  It’s like my constant battle is to maintain communication in relationship, especially with You.  Even when I’ve been independent, You still speak to my heart.  You protect me, You never leave me.  Thank You for Your unfailing, never ending, relentless love.  Forgive me for my lack of daily death to self so I can follow You with everything I am.  Reliance on self leaves no room for Your presence in me.  Help me release myself to You as an empty vessel again; available and willing to be filled with Your love, available and willing to pour out that love on others.

My desire is to serve You, go anywhere for You.  Examine my heart and remove anything that is holding me down.  Any fear or pride – identify it to me so my identity in You can be more complete.

I don’t want to be a fake missionary or forget how and why You brought me to Africa.  To carry out your mission, your people have to be serious.  The enemy is real, but You are greater.  All things are from You and for You.  Creation…Salvation…Revelation.


30 August 2013

I just had a realization that I need to stop trying to write about what I did or what adventure happened or what people need.  I should be communicating about what GOD did, what He IS doing; in the world and inside myself.  How He is working in the hearts of people.  How am I glorifying and praising God in my communication?  What can I do or say differently to bring attention to God and not to myself?


I recently read that HUMILITY is the test of a good missionary.  (From Live Dead Journal, 30 Day Prayer Challenge for Unreached Peoples of East Africa)


I’m beginning to understand:

This journey in Africa isn’t about adventure, it’s about TRUTH.

It isn’t about what people lack, it’s about how God PROVIDES.

It isn’t about the existence of darkness, it’s about the breaking through of the LIGHT.

It’s not about the abundance of suffering, it’s about the HOPE that endures.



Some verses that encouraged me:

Psalm 142:3

When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who watch over my way.


Psalm 143:8-10

Let me morning bring word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you.

Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.

Rescue me from my enemies, Lord, for I hide myself in You.

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.


1 Thessalonians 5:24

The One who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.


It’s coming:

I’m about to turn 30 in December.  I need to seriously take better care of myself.  Why does 30 seem scary?

One of my favorite Ugandan pastors reminded me that Jesus’ ministry began when He was 30 years old and in three years He changed the world.

I can just rejoice that I am where God wants me to be and I’m not trying to figure out my purpose in life.


Some days I am just amazed and so thankful that I have the opportunity to live this life.  I recently ran across the website of a girl named Jamie who calls herself “the very worst missionary”.  Why didn’t I think of that?  I guess her point is that missionaries are just regular people and it’s hard to be what people imagine you would be.  She’s just real and doesn’t mind sharing her failures with the rest of us.

God uses ordinary people who are imperfect, unqualified, and even bad communicators.


My Kenyan friend Lindsey calls me her “weird missionary friend”.  I think she first expected me to wear a bonnet and a skirt with tennis shoes.  I don’t have to tell everyone I meet that Jesus loves them.  They should know it by the way He loves them through me.

lindsey and kids

Lindsey,Maegan, Brian, and his siblings Divine, Jemimah, Faith, Ruth, Isaac and Shakim.



One thought on “communication

  1. Life does continue on here. In the midst of all the great ups, there are also great downs. It truly seems as if it is as hard to maintain a consistent prayer life when everything else around you is just plain crazy. I always thought things would be easy here, but the truth is that they are not. It is a struggle… the same struggles that occur while being in the states. Although you can be in “God’s perfect” will for your life, I still recall Jesus who was in his Father’s perfect will, yet He struggled immensely in carrying out his responsibilities. This country is marked by oppression; therefore, it is crucial we protect ourselves. A missionary in Nicaragua always told me one thing: the mission field is tough. As I have discovered, it is very true for reasons only missionaries can understand or grasp. Good post, Jake.

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