Sustainable Housing Project

Friday, August 30, 2013

Still Playing Hard in the Fourth Quarter-A Sports Metaphor


Angie helping serve food on a house construction site.
     Everyone would likely agree that Angie and I have reached the fourth quarter of our career as missionaries. Our anticipation of retiring in a few more years after working for 40 years with one organization would be a real accomplishment if we can finish strong.

     Angie and I have been fortunate to celebrate 38 years of marriage this week and we are also very grateful to have been missionaries working with World Gospel Mission for 33 years. I would love to make it beyond the 40 years but that would be considered overtime in the game and at best our production would be expected to decrease. Likely we will become part-time players if we make it into overtime.

     We have enjoyed ministry opportunities in two culturally distinct parts of Honduras. We spent nearly 20 years, or two quarters of ministry, and raised our three children at the Escuela El Sembrador in Eastern Honduras. At one point before leaving El Sembrador I remember saying that I could easily retire at the job I was doing there. I loved my work in agriculture. I enjoyed spending time with students. I felt very fulfilled. I was doing what God had called me to do. There were no problems, no logical reason that I could think of for leaving the “Farm School” but God made it clear to us at the proper moment when it was time for us to leave.

     We have now been in Southern Honduras for 13 years. When we left El Sembrador in 1998, we could not have anticipated the needs that existed due to the damage that would take place from Hurricane Mitch the end of that year. We also could not have anticipated the opportunity open to us to work with the people of Choluteca. Even though I would never personally have chosen to move to a city, and didn’t like the constant hot weather at first, we love the people that we work with and those we serve in ministry. I still hate driving in the city, though.
   
     As with any “player” late in the game, playing in the fourth quarter, we don’t have quite the energy level that we did when we started.  We are slowing down. We have some aches and pains. I have learned though, that instead of using my body to do the heavy work, I now look for a tool to accomplish the job or better yet find a couple of young guys to do the job for me.

     We have done a lot of running in the past. Every task seemed to be urgent. Some of that hurrying was probably wasted effort. Now as mature missionaries, we are very deliberate in all that we do. We don’t do a lot of zig-zaging and dodging, but we now head straight for the goal. With experience, we have learned to plan better and to make wiser decisions about our work. We can’t do the all-night activities anymore. We wear out quickly if we don’t rest often.

     We have learned to excuse ourselves if events start to go long. No one seems to mind or be offended. They all understand.

     We are a bit beaten up physically at the moment. Hopefully, things will get better. Angie has nearly continuous pain in her shoulder. A reverse shoulder joint surgery will need to be done in the near future. We are hoping to put that off for a couple of years. I deal with stomach issues, an occasional intestinal parasite, periodic malaria attacks and a variety of aches and pains.

     In spite of our limitations we continue to enjoy what we are doing. God continues to expand his vision among those we serve with. We look forward resting a bit more and to handing the ball off to an enthusiastic well-prepared group of young leaders in Choluteca.

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