Just before we came to Thailand, I was asked to be girl’s dean for the Education Opportunity Foundation (which you can read more about in the Bairs September Update in the Newsletter Archives). This month I have been starting training for that position.

It’s a new role, and as most new roles are, it includes a steep learning curve. So, I have been thinking about two seemingly opposite ideas, that co-exist in this mission, and probably exist with any missionary endeavor). The two ideas are: past experiences are preparation for the job, and nothing really prepares you other than prayer.

As far as the first one goes, I’m thankful for the following past experiences.

  • Enjoying traveling a lot–which includes appreciating the life-skill of flexibility.
  • Playing musical instruments, including taking violin and guitar lessons (although I sure wish I had more lessons under my belt).
  • Working as a teacher’s assistant, honing the love of young people and teaching skills.
  • Working as a registered nurse, which taught me scheduling and how to juggle caring for many people.
  • Being a mom and learning to nurture.

…All these life experiences seem to be useful in being a dean.

However, as the language barrier continually reminds me, these “qualifications” are not enough to get the job done. I’m praying for miracles. Since I can’t talk much it makes me think more about my actions, since many times it is the missionary’s character that needs no translation. God has to do it through me, and I feel quite helpless sometimes.

However, I have concluded that this tension—between using the skills I have and realizing that I can’t do it of my own power—is a good thing. Using my talents is required by the Giver (see Matthew 25:14-30), but so is realizing my need to depend on Him for everything. Even Jesus, speaking from the humanity that He took upon Himself, said, “I can of mine own self do nothing” (John 5:30), so surely I also need constant help from God.

“Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall. But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:30-31

Written on September 28th, 2012 , Mission Field

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