Being a missionary in another culture brings many challenges. Some may be physical (learning to adjust to new foods), others spiritual (people not responding, questioning calling). One of the biggest challenges for me has been dealing with disappointment in my relationships with people. I always want to believe the best about people. I don't think this is a bad thing. I think it helps me to be open to people in ways that others might not be. It also opens me up to a lot of hurt when I am disappointed.
Last week was the perfect example of this. One of the people who I have been working with for many years did something to totally destroy any trust that had been built up between us. At first I was sad and hurt at the betrayal. Someone who I had truly started to think of as a friend had now thrown that friendship away. Then I became angry. How could I have spent so much of my time and energy on this relationship? Why didn't I believe others when they said this person was hopeless? What was God thinking in putting this person in my life? Can I still be effective here? The questions kept coming. The more I thought about it, the angrier I got.
At the same time, I started asking myself if I would ever be able to trust someone in that community again. I don't want to be that way. I don't think that's the right reaction, nor is it the appropriate example as I serve here. But where do I draw the line? How do I know who to trust...where to invest time in relationships?
Now that it's been almost a week since this happened, my anger has subsided. I have hope again that I can continue developing deeper, closer relationships with those I work with. I wish I could say I have it all figured out, that I know exactly where to draw the line of trust. I'm still working on this as I ask God to direct me in these relationships. Our relationships with people here are so important to the work that we do. Please pray for us as we seek to understand this lesson while honoring God in our relationships with others.