Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Missionary Catch-22

The rain tapped the ceramic tile roof. In fact, the rain had tapped the tin and ceramic roofs, the mud ground, and the crystal-clear bay water pretty much all the previous day.

Yesterday was a perfect day from Marissa to take a day off from diving. We had desperately needed to connect on direction for some time. She has been extremely busy with finishing her dive certification. I have been writing my fingers numb and my brain numb-er.

Yet, in all that, this morning I am thinking I have been guilty of The Missionary Catch-22.

We want to be sure to be good stewards of the time God has given us here. We want to make an impact. So, we have been mightily busy. A day off sitting at the cafe, watching the rain, and re-synchronizing vision was welcome.

It was relaxing. We walked down our dirt path to the "lavandaria". After yelling up to the second-story windows of the owner, she came down with $2 in American quarters to run the washing machines that clean our clothes once a week. We ate lunch slowly and lazed on the balcony, stewing over our plans for December. But all in all, it was a pure day off.

That time away from my writing (also known as "coming up for air"), I was able to reflect a bit. Which is where I have been most of the morning: listening to the tapping rain on the ceramic tile.

Reflecting usually has me nostalgic. This is when I consciously or unconsciously release all the things that frustrated in the moment and look back with new fondness on the good that actually occurred. This is somewhat of a revisionist history but for the better.

Since leaving Lakeland to join the ministry, we have seen some grand successes. We completed Earthship school. We traveled the country to see family. To rest and write. We launched our book. We finished up and began organizing free missionary training resources. We re-tooled the website. We landed in the D.R. to begin getting accustomed to the island. We made a few friends, visited a Dominican church, and connected with a few awesome ministries like Go MAD.

One thing that stuck out, however, was that during all this time I have felt very little spirituality. I have felt very little spiritual connection.

This is the Missionary Catch-22. (You heard it here first, folks!)

The Missionary Catch-22 applies to any ministry really. I have seen it in our work at the church in Vero Beach. I have seen it in the work in Chauffard, Haiti. And, in my latest Spark Interviews with Gala Calisto of Kay Angel, I heard that she is dealing with it as well.

The Missionary Catch-22 is this:
  1. Get spiritual inspiration to do more for others.
  2. Do more for others.
  3. Get too busy to maintain a spiritual life.
Gala alluded to it. Terry always warned of it. Umpteen State-side pastors banter in the cafe 8 days a week about how so-and-so pastor never prays and they munch another biscotti while downloading their sermon from

And, listening to the tapping rain, I knew that in my crazing to be a good steward with our time here, for our supporters, for our friends, for my faithfulness to God, I had actually been praying far less.

So, it is about 5:00 a.m. The rain is tapping and, I am on my way out to the patio. The wind is blustering drizzling wetness from Tropical Storm Sandy. But, you know what, in prayer and connected spiritually is where this sparked journey started. That is where I am headed now.

1 comment:

Yvette said...

I love the transparency of your heart, Grant!!!!!! : )