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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Jaworski

Unity At The Watering Hole

Updated: Feb 24, 2023

"As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. Ephesians 4:1-6

The Heart of a Missionary

Have you ever watched one of those National Geographic shows where this awesome British narrator spends an hour and a half dramatizing the daily lives of animals as if it was the latest episode of the world's most famous soap opera? Personally, I find them fascinating! But before you start labeling me, in my defense, they are way cooler when you've actually been to Africa yourself! 😂

No matter the setting, the part that always leaves me in awe is when everyone gathers at the watering hole... There, at that sacred place in the middle of the dessert - no matter what - prey and predator come together for a few moments of peace and unity out of respect for the life giving source the water provides for them all. No one explains this to them, no mediator needs to be present... they just know and understand that in that moment, survival of their ecosystem is more important than their differences... A concept so simple, so logical, and yet so complex... something explained only by a God given gift of instinct buried deep in the programming of their DNA since their creation.

It honestly reminds me of mission work... Ask anyone whose been on a mission trip to recount what it was like and you'll probably hear common themes like "it is hard to describe..." "it was an amazing, spirit filled time..." "...the team was so unified, we worked so well together!" "the Lord did amazing things through our team..." and "I wish I could recreate the experience here at home..." As you know, I've said some of these same things after returning home myself. But why? What is it about mission work that merits these types of responses from people who have participated in them? I have asked myself this question so many times, and if I had to guess, I'd say I'm not the only one. A quick google search would probably populate a hundred titles confirming my guess, but the idea of all that reading sends my short attention span into a panic attack. Instead, after looking back on four or five of my own trips, I've come to believe the answer lies in the analogy of the watering hole.

Stay with me here...

When a team commits to a mission trip, they sign an invisible, instinctive treaty with each other on the sacred ground of the mission field. There, they promise to put aside their differences to unite around the life giving source of the Gospel in order to invest in the survival of a dying, lost world.

When they succeed, amazing things happen that leave a watching world staring in awe at what it has just witnessed... a seemingly mysterious, instinctive cooperation among people, who according to their audience, should not get along or work well with each other.

And yet... sometimes it feels like that treaty only applies to the foreign mission field... but as a Christ follower, isn't everywhere my mission field? Isn't everywhere yours? So why do we Christ followers put on a soap opera for the watching world by bickering and fighting so much on our home turf? As if all of us were either prey or predator fighting for control of the Serengeti... instead of acting like brothers and sisters in Christ, unified behind the fact that we are all one body, called to one hope, by one Savior? Why do we let our differences distract us from our mission? People need Jesus here at home too... and yet sometimes it feels like we care more about the arguing over the latest political issue, social media post, or offensive tweet. This isn't the animal kingdom on the plains of the Serengeti... This is the Kingdom of God, on the battlefields of a temporary life, fighting an eternal enemy not of flesh and blood, but of spiritual forces of evil... an enemy who doesn't care about who or what I voted for, but who does spend every moment caring about how they can make me less affective for Jesus today... I don't know about you, but I am sick of being a character in a soap opera. I want to the mission field treaty to apply to my home too!

Coco's Commentary

Couldn't agree more Michelle! The last few months have been tough! I'm so glad I'm a bear and not allowed to participate in politics... and Michelle doesn't let me engage in arguments on social media, which is probably a wise decision... LOL... But like Michelle said, maybe some topics should take a back seat on the mission field, whether that's a remote village in some country in your geography book, or the local watering hole down the street from home. Since the pandemic continues to keep us stuck at home, Michelle and I have been working with our team to bring Jesus to Remember Nhu children using curriculum they can learn from with their house parents every week from the safety of their homes. We have also been spending more of our time building into our mission field here at home to spread love and unity among our brothers and sisters. Please continue to pray for us, and while you're at it, join us in praying for The Church, capital C... we got a long way to go folks! Au Revoir!

♥ CoCo

Prayer Pit Stop

  • For The Church, that we would all allow our mission to share the Gospel to unite us instead of letting our differences divide us.

  • For that the children in Remember Nhu's care would grow in their faith and understanding of Jesus.

  • For our field staff and house parents at Remember Nhu to be encouraged and refreshed as they work protect and instruct our children during the pandemic.

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