Even as I sit here writing, I’m wrestling with writer’s block. Not because my brain is empty…but because my mind is threatening to explode from the sheer volume of information that it is trying to contain, organize, digest and remember. The past month here in training has been like drinking from a fire hose—you want to take it all in, but the overwhelming volume of information makes it impossible to swallow fast enough.
In the past four weeks, I’ve been taught everything from the life cycle of malaria in the human body (it starts with a mosquito, and ends with you being sick…no fun) to how to run a twin-tub washing machine (see below), to how to chart verb and noun phrases in languages I’ve never even heard of before, and everything in between.
In Field Health, I learned that missionaries have one of the most high-stress jobs in the world, and that adequate rest, exercise, and water can help prevent a lot of big health problems (that would probably require medically evacuated from the tribe). I’m having to put this knowledge to use even now in training, where it’s easy to get so busy with ministry, classes and homework that I forget to take good care of myself. This was especially true during a week of training where we spent 8 hrs a day in class (talk about brain overload!), and I spent every evening just trying to digest everything we’d covered in class that day.
That’s why I am SO glad that “succeeding” as a missionary is not about remembering everything I’m taught in training, but about using this time of preparation to make me more like Christ. As our teachers have told us many times, this training is more about “becoming” what it takes to be a church planter (and, in my case, a Bible translator), rather than just “knowing” all the facts and formulas about how to plant a mature church. Is every part of this training important? Absolutely. But is it a replacement for simply walking with God and becoming more like Christ every day? Absolutely not. My job is to learn everything I can through this training, while at the same time keeping my eyes on the ultimate goal of being conformed to the image of Christ.