I was just thinking, it might shock some people if they knew some of the stuff we didn't do on our last missionary journey, but it might also help some people held back by waiting for the perfect situation.
1. We didn't have any accommodation scheduled when we left home. Nada. Zip. Not even the first night.
2. We didn't have too many preaching appointments scheduled? (Can you ever have too many?) But we only firmly knew of a few days in Rwanda, the rest had to be made up as we went along.
3. We knew almost nobody.
So what, are we irresponsible? Unaware that we should be planning? Obtuse? Uninformed? Sloppy? Careless? or maybe carefree!
Maybe we know that we've learned that we can trust the Lord, and we have also learned enough how to be content in just about any sleeping situation. I lie awake if I think there are bugs crawling on me, or people intruders, but other than that, I think we can say with the Apostle Paul "for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." Phil 4:11.
He goes on, "I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound..." We got some of those abasing kinds of hotels as we traveled. In some cultures, toilet seats are not a big deal, and even toilets (as opposed to a hole in the floor) and shower curtains are not made much of. Those are little "culture shocks" so-called. We're well past the "shock" stage, but just differences of interest to note.
We stayed in a hotel with no running water, unless the person with the bucket got the urge to sprint, and several hotels with no hot running water. All of our places had electricity. Sometimes. And some of them had generators for when the city electricity was off. One place we stayed for more than two weeks had the electricity off for 8 hours each day, from 6 something AM, til 2 something PM. That one didn't have a generator.
OK, I strayed from my point into the tangent of interesting, fascinating, thrilling stories. :- ) The point is, we went out not having planned everything down to the last detail, and we made it up as we went along, and it was good!
In the wilderness God's people waited on and followed the cloud, whether it stayed in one place two days or a month or a year.
We slept in a bed every night. We could wash, of some sort, every day. We found plenty to eat, and we found THOUSANDS of people to preach to! We found HUNDREDS of people willing and even excited to take gospel booklets from us. MANY HUNDREDS made a public profession of repentance and faith in Jesus.
In the town with the cheapest of all hotels in Tanzania ($7.50 a night for all three of us) it wasn't the fanciest, but it was also the place where we had a bit of a stampede for tracts. I wish I had a video. People surrounded Paul on foot, on bikes, and a bunch shot over on their motorcycles to get a tract. He gave until he ran out, and then threw up his hands in the center of the mob and shook his head regretfully.
There always are perks along the way, beside any hardships. On some of the roughest roads, the scenery is the kind that makes you breathe, "O Lord how manifold are thy works! In wisdom hast thou made them all!" (Ps 104:24)
Sometimes we (well, maybe just I) am tempted to feel sorry for myself. When we're traveling I don't have my comfy home, my dear friends are far, and my babies are growing up and doing all too fine on their own, and then the Lord opens my eyes to the perks! The beauty, the adventure, the new people to meet, etc. More than just a perk, is the sense of purpose, obedience to the Great Commission, and the joy of seeing people brought into God's kingdom.
Oops, I've strayed again. So the main point is that we can go before it's all perfectly planned, if it's in obedience to His leading, the details sort themselves out along the way.
Hotels are handy, but we loved our 2 nights with other missionaries, the Kellers in Kabwe, Zambia. What a joy to get with other Americans, who have sweet little children, and similar purposes, and enjoy the fellowship.
This is just a token few of the places we stayed.
Evangel put a picture of one place on her blog
3rd picture back.