Saturday, 30 April 2011

"Feed my sheep"

Every missionary goes through times when they wonder what in the world they are doing on the other side of the world--living in a strange culture, far away from family and little nephews and forever friends, minus all of the conveniences of the modern world.  A few months ago, it really hit me hard.  I suppose it was about time.  I was two years into my first term.  My parents had come and gone.  I was missing home.  I had just returned from Thailand where I met many people that were doing amazing things all over the world.  That trip would be the last big exciting thing I had to look forward to for a while.  The bush of PNG seemed like a long, long way from everywhere.  And it was a long, long time until furlough.

Lord, am I really supposed to be in PNG?  Am I supposed to be a missionary and a family doctor?  Why am I here?  Do I really make a difference for your kingdom?  Did I miss something, did I miss out on your plan for my life?  These are some of the questions that were going through my mind.

In our ladies Bible study, we recently finished studying the gospel of John (and have now moved on to Genesis).  John 21 records a conversation between Jesus and Peter.  Jesus asks, "Do you love me more than these?"  What do you suppose that Jesus meant by "more than these?"  The disciples were fishing and had just returned to shore with a net full of fish.  Peter was a fisherman by profession--it was his livelihood, what he knew and was comfortable with.  Did Peter love Jesus more than all of these things?  He did.  And Jesus answer to him was to "feed my lambs" and "take care of my sheep."

Do I love Jesus more than my family, watching my nephew grow up, independence, the city, the hope of getting married, hanging with my friends, travel, and working internet?  Do I love him more than PNG?  Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.  His response is "feed my sheep."  Maybe I don't always feel the joy and excitement of being a missionary, but I know that this is where I am supposed to be today--here in PNG, feeding his sheep.  I am taking care of sheep as I share the hope of Christ with cervical cancer patients and minister to mothers of nursery babies.  I help to feed lambs by being involved in the ladies' Bible study (below center).  Becky and I have also started a mentoring group with some students from the College of Nursing (right).  Sure, the medical part of my job is important.  After all, I am here as a missionary doctor.  It is in building relationships, investing in people, and making disciples that makes it a ministry.  Ministry is what makes this job worth it.

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