Dirty Little Secret – Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire

liar 2 I (Mike) have been very honest about my need for this furlough. Four years ago I so deeply hated the idea of furlough and didn’t want to leave Honduras to come back to the U.S. for furlough. This time, leading up to the beginning of our furlough (June 28, 2014) I couldn’t wait for furlough to begin. I so desperately needed to get away from Honduras. The previous ten months (September 2013 – June 2014) were some of the hardest times of my life. Faith challenging, humanity questioning, self doubting, difficult times. In too short of a period I experienced too many Christians embracing their sin, adults acting like children, children being forced to act like adults, families acting like enemies, disciples of Christ allowing themselves to be used by Satin, violence, prostitution, child abuse, rape, substance abuse, theft, pain, murder, pettiness and anguish. Too much suffering had been crammed into too short of a period. I needed to get out. I knew I needed to regain my perspective. My marriage with Erin and my relationship with my daughter Madison were the best they had ever been, but I really didn’t like being a missionary. I needed to liarget away and I needed to again fall in love with serving Hondurans, working with Gringos and glorifying the Lord. To my friends from the 80’s, I had “lost that lovin’ feelin’.”

Now, while in the U.S. on furlough, every weekend and most weekdays I meet with audiences that range from one to  500 people. I get asked about my theology of missions, and glorifying the Lord, and living in a third-world country, and serving Hondurans. I tell the stories, cry tears, pray prayers and share God’s glory. But, here is my dirty little secret… for the first 100 days of our furlough I felt so dishonest. I felt like a liar, a fraud and a charlatan. I had joy on my face, tears in my eyes, melody in my stories and strength in my hugs. I knew my job was to be excited about Honduras, but I didn’t mean it. The last place I wanted to be was Honduras. The last thing I wanted to be was a missionary.

fireSome of you have already been brought into the circle of trust as I shared my pain and healing process with you. Most of you had no clue of the liar who stood before you singing the praises of missions, MTW, Team Honduras and our ministry. But, let me stress to you, just because I didn’t agree with the words at the time doesn’t make them wrong. Just because I loathed the stories doesn’t make them fiction. I was telling you of a passion and a joy and longing to serve that I used to posses and desired to have again. While I was using my own name in the stories I was telling you of a man I used to be and prayed I could become again.

But, now, I feel like I’m turning a corner. I feel like last weekend was the first missions presentation (in a long time) I started to believe some of the stories I heard coming out of my mouth. And the week before in the Dominican Republic I spent time with most of our Team Honduras teammates, and I didn’t hate all of it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not ready to go back to Honduras tomorrow, but October has been the first month in almost a year where I didn’t totally hate missions. I am healing. It is slow and it is still hard. But, I can again envision a future where I hurt less and long for cross-cultural missions more. I hope you can imagine how painful the last 14 months have been, where I was “living the dream” and “serving the Lord” and “doing what Scripture says” and “walking like an apostle” and absolutely finding no joy in it. Now, I see on the horizon joy is there. It is off in the distance, but it is there. I am starting to heal and almost ready to start loving missions again.

Missionaries suffer. It is more common than you think. Scripture speaks frequently of suffering. The missionary Paul suffered and Paul too boasted of his suffering so as to glorify the Lord. Christ too suffered. Peter promises us as Christians we will suffer, but that our suffering should be used to bring glory to the Lord. The purpose of my suffering and the reason I am pouring my heart out is so our loyal readers know, when I do return to Honduras, when I do continue serving as a missionary, it is NOT through my strength, but through the grace of God. When I do again find joy in missions, and I will, the only way that could be done is through the strength found only Jesus Christ.

Please pray for the healing process. Pray this post doesn’t get me fired from MTW. Pray our supporters don’t drop this flawed and  healing missionary for one who is perfect. Pray my passion for Christ translates to a passion to serve him. Pray that when we return to Honduras in May it is something I long for.

One thought on “Dirty Little Secret – Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire”

Comments are closed.