Monthly Archives: September 2012

Wangki Mairin: Not About Me

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“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit… He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their sorrows.” Psalm 34:18, 147:3

If God has taught me one thing here in Waspam these past four months, it’s this: Missions is not about me. He’s done this by daily challenging me to die to myself in every possible way, calling me to step outside the clear boundary lines of my comfort zone out into the midst of those around me.

There’s a reason we call every other nation “foreign countries”; everything in life is different than my United States of America (Alaskan, no less) sense of normal. Different climate, different language(s), different food, different schedule, different relational interactions and expectations, different clothing standards, different governing principles. different health conditions, different worldview. And the list goes on. Countless times these past months I have been sorely tempted to just stay in my room and hide from all the different and difficult. It can be draining to feel out of place and out of touch 24/7. It’s scary, really. All that vulnerability. But, like always, I am given two options: act out of pride and don’t risk falling flat on my face, or act out of obedience, trusting that God’s will will be done as I steward each opportunity He gives me.

One sphere in which I consistently faced these two choices was music. I am so grateful that God gave me a musical heart, and just as grateful that he put me in a home with another musician. This extended summer has been one filled-to-the-brim with melodies, harmonies and broken guitar strings. Nutie and I are always learning songs freshly translated into Spanish and/or Miskito to share with our friends here.

The songs consistently strike deep into the hearts of our local friends; they always want to sing them! I have sung “Cristo, se el Centro” so many times now sometimes I forget the words in English! Honestly, a lot of times I feel more like I’m mindlessly repeating vowel sounds than sincerely worshipping the Creator of this world who died for me.

Not exactly the most entertaining or engaging to sing the same 5+ songs over and over and over again.

But then there are moments when I remember once again that missions is not about me.

Like the day I sang with Selia, a dear friend from the market. She had just miscarried, again, after four months of pregnancy. As my heart broke inside for my beloved sister, I looked over and saw her, eyes closed, struggling to sing the words to one of her favorite songs. “Jisas, yang kupi awa…” Jesus, my heart string, a Miskito term of endearment reserved only for your closest loves. A beautiful picture; Jesus, the one closest to me, the one inside of me. The one who’s love holds my heart together when everything around me is falling apart.

Moments like two weeks ago. Well past sunset, Rosap, one of Tom and Nutie’s dear friends and disciples, came over to our house. We welcomed him in with open arms, and he told us his news. His daughter, Glenda, had just died one hour ago. In thirties, Glenda slipped into a coma because of undiagnosed diabetes. And she died! We cried and prayed with Rosap, and went to visit his family the next day. Nutie and I sang of God’s love and faithfulness….. “Naikra laya kang kaiksa, Jisas baku ban ai sin” from “He sees each tear that falls, and hears me when I call.”

God has put one particular family deep inside my heart here in Waspam, the Lewises. The first time I met Cleveland and Anna was when they told Tom and Nutie that Anna was pregnant. Just three weeks ago we learned that Anna was going to have twins, a boy and a girl. They were asking us for name suggestions; we were becoming a family!

This morning Nutie told me the worst possible news: Anna had miscarried. She’d been having trouble for a week, and on her way to the hospital she gave birth to her two precious children. They were only 6 months developed, each weighing approximately 3 lbs. Anna said the little boy had dark skin and hair just like Cleveland, and their daughter looked like a little Anna. They had already been dead for a day inside of her. Anna and Cleveland are crushed, heartbroken. Nutie and I visited Anna in the hospital this afternoon. We cried and prayed, and listened and listened. We heard her heartache and felt like it was our own. The doctors were keeping her in the hospital because of her high blood pressure, telling her she must calm down or risk her own health. We kept encouraging her to bring her sorrow to Jesus; He’s the only One who is strong enough to bear it.

As we sang of God’s love and faithfulness, Anna began to cry. “Firme estar, sin inclinar, mis raices profundizar. Firme estar, sin inclinar en Ti. Yo quiero ser como la palmera al lado de un rio de agua viva. Sera mi cancion y mi oracion hasta el fin.”

“Unmovable, unshakable, I want my roots to go down deep. Unmovable, unshakeable in You. I want to be like a tree planted by the streams of living water. This will by my song, this will be my prayer, till the end.”

I saw Anna relax as God’s truth and comfort filled the room. God the Father knows the searing pain of losing a precious child, and His presence was felt by all in the room. This is ministry. This is the Gospel, God’s truth and love intercepting the most broken and painful parts of our lives. And, by the blood of Jesus, redeeming them.

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Wangki Mairin: From Page to Personal

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It all started with the Taj Mahal…. Agra. Green. Landscaped. Simple (in comparison to Indian flashiness.) Awe-inspiring. Captivating. Yes, truly captivating. From first glance I had one single, inexplicable thought echoing through my mind: This is a little piece of Arabia in India. And, just like they say in Inception, that one little idea grew and grew inside of me. The Middle East…..

In GCBI I started to pray about whether God had given me this crazy burden because He wanted me to work amongst Muslims. As I prayed, I realized that I need solid information in my hands. I can think and dream about something all day long, and end up with a romanticized fairytale nothing like the real thing. I wanted real information about the spiritual climate, struggles and victories of work among Muslims, especially in the Middle East.

So I got some books. I poured over “Through Her Eyes” by Marti Smith, a golden resource written by various missionary women about life and ministry among Muslims as a woman, wife and/or mother. A month ago I started my other book, “Encountering the World of Islam”. Pretty much a text book, its 500+ pages of history, theology, biography and testimony about Islam, Muhammed, and those God has called to share with Muslims around the world. It’s an incredible book, really solid Biblically, and it’s transforming my thinking (mission accomplished.)  I’ve been practically inhaling it, reading in every spare moment. One month later and I’m almost done with my text-book!

Yesterday my headache was pretty nasty, so after washing the dishesI decided to take a nap (usually if I can fall asleep, I’ll wake up without pain). Tom and Nutie had already laid down for their daily post-lunch nap, so I locked the door. Miskito people leave their doors wide open, since they spend most of the day outside anyway. As we have a screened-in house, we leave our wooden door open, and the screen door prevents mosquitos from entering in. Locking the door was the silent way of saying “No one’s home”.

A good friend of mine, Zilpa, had said she was going to come over that afternoon, but I didn’t want to see her. I justified locking the door by telling myself that my head really hurt;  I didn’t want/think I could try to converse in Spanish with this much pain. But if I was honest with myself, I knew that wasn’t the real reason (or at least the entire reason). I’ve had headaches much worse than that one; I could manage if I wanted to. In reality, I knew it would be easier to hide in my room than stumble through a conversation in Spanish. Simply put, I didn’t want to die to myself. I wanted “easy”.

So I decided to drown out the questions my conscience was putting in my mind through new information. I was in the middle of a chapter about relational evangelism to Muslim women and lost myself in the world of my book. Next thing I knew, Nutie was tapping on my door. “Jessi. Jessi, Zilpa’s here for you.” Instantly I hopped up onto my bed. I knew this was the deciding moment. I had two choices: lie and pretend to be asleep, thereby avoiding the whole encounter. Or, go out and greet my friend. My headache had decreased significantly, so I couldn’t use pain as an excuse to stay in my room.

As the inner debate raged, one thought kept reemerging: How can I say I want to reach out to Muslim women through relationship if I won’t walk-the-talk right now?

So I went out. We played cards and I tried to teach her how to play chess (not recommended for those who don’t speak sufficient Spanish. I don’t think she understood any of it.) And I kept on pressing forward with my Spanish, learning bits and pieces through our interactions.

She left as the sun started to set. As I said good-bye, I recognized how tired I was, my poor brain worn out from chronic pain and hours of immersion-style foreign language learning. But I knew I had made the right choice, and it was a good-kind of tired. Totally worth it.