Global Missions: Challenges, Hardships, Dangers (part 2)

Challenges, Hardships and Dangers (Part 2)
by Sue Calhoun (Missions Team Member)

Please keep praying with us for our mission partners using 2 Corinthians 4:7-9

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed”

Poor infrastructure.  
Most Africans cannot rely on the government or the private sector to provide good infrastructure.

Roads are scarce and poorly maintained. To illustrate, the Westerholms have planted several churches in northern Mozambique which are now mostly self-sustaining.  Yet they still visit them throughout the year. Many are not far away “as the crow flies” but to reach them the Westerholms drive their AWD vehicle as far as they can and finish the journey on foot. There may be a river that they can usually ford with the vehicle that has flooded during the rainy season.  

Most visits to these neighboring churches require a full day or even an overnight stay.
Utilities such as water and electricity can pose hardships for our mission partners.  Access to clean water may be available, but usually, it is from a well equipped with a pump.  Clean water flowing from taps in houses is rare. Someone, often a woman or girl, must fetch water for cooking and bathing. In most cases only bottled water is used for drinking.

Electricity is available in most homes, but power may not always be available.  Service to restore power is not easy to get.  Faulty wiring, “acts of God” or other excuses leave the problem to the individual to solve.

Medical facilities and services in Mozambique are adequate only for simple health issues. To receive care that requires lab work or hospital facilities our missionaries and their family members must go to another country.  Owen Ruraca last year had mysterious health issues that sapped his strength and turned out to be pancreatic cancer. Thanks to the connections he has in Zimbabwe and the generosity of NW members, he was able to be treated by a physician in neighboring Zimbabwe.  It’s  a blessing that he lives near the border and can fairly easily get to the major city (Mutare) where he was treated.

The Westerholms also had medical emergencies this past year. Amy was treated for what was thought to be early stages of breast cancer (praise God it was not!).  Treatment took place at a hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa.  Her mode of transportation to the hospital was airplane! Imagine flying to an imaging appointment. Then returning later for surgery and recovery!  That’s life for our mission partners.

While Amy was in Joburg, their daughter Jane fell while she was playing at a playground.  She was taken to the local clinic, but her injuries were beyond what the clinic could treat and she ended up joining her mother in Johannesburg.
These challenges may bring unforeseen benefits for the Kingdom.  The Lord works in mysterious ways.  When unbelievers observe how Christ-followers respond to difficulties, doors to the Kingdom can open up to them.

Our mission partners are following Paul’s advice to the Colossians, when he says “conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of every opportunity” (Col 4:5)
Our next blog will focus on hostile environment.

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