Over the last few years, Arthur and I have been developing a ministry job description for ourselves – a philosophy of student ministry and and where we fit. Our big question, though, has been whether there would be somewhere we could carry that out. Would there be a place for us, in German speaking Europe or anywhere else?
A few weeks ago, Neville Carr came to college to recruit student workers for a university in Tanzania. As he described the need on campus, it seems to fit our job description. And he was keen, asking us how soon we would finish college and could (possibly) come. We were so excited that this was a concrete situation, and not only that, but one that seemed like a good fit for us! What an exhilirating goal to work towards!
But chatting with friends over dinner on Friday night, we were asked where humility fits in to our excitement. On one hand, the job might look like it suits us, but on the other hand, how will we be the people who suit the task, whatever it is? What if we were to get to Tanzania and the job description changed, to something other than the ‘perfect fit’ we thought we were going to? Would we see the opportunity to serve people rather than pursuing the fulfilment our own desires?
It’s fantastic when your desire and the needs of those you serve line up. That’s an important consideration in missionary placement. Yet, most missionaries I speak to comment on how different their expectations were from the reality. And so the call to humility is an important one. I was challenged to think about how I will respond when what seems exciting now is something else in reality. Will my heart be to serve people or myself?
Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.