At times in South Africa it doesn't feel like we are on the mission field anymore. We are living in a developing nation, yes, but as far as Africa is concerned South Africa offers a relatively comfortable lifestyle. So, it does catch me by surprise when cultural issues rear their ugly heads, and I have to pull out my cross cultural living handbook, suck it up, and carry on.
At times I have wondered whether or not we are truly needed here in KZN, because the image I've always had of a missionary was of one suffering physicallly with his/her environment for the, "cause of Christ." So, yes, I have felt guilty for being a relatively comfortable missionary in Africa. Don't get me wrong...I am NOT in KANSAS anymore, or New York, or North Carolina...or any other state in the Union. I would be lying if I did not admit to at times relating to Dorothy, touching down in a strange new world where some things look and seem familiar, but truly everything is foreign. If I continue down this yellow brick road of honesty road, and am completely transparent... I have wondered if starving children in war torn Sudan were not in more need of Jesus...in need of me...than the people of Kwa-Zulu Natal.
And then I read this morning's newspaper headlines."3000 KZN schoolgirls pregant," one said. "Children burned Alive," was the second headline in another publication and the image accompanying the article dismissed my immediate notion that it had to be sensational journalism. A horrfying jerk back into the reality of the evil we are fighting against at the Genesis Youth Centre on a daily basis. No, we are not standing in front of blazing bullets to protect children in the Sudan, but we are standing in front of the proverbial bullets of teenage pregancy, substance abuse, HIV/AIDS, Depression, satanic ritualism, etc. Ya, we are needed here right where God has planted us.
As the day has gone on I cannot shake the images I saw this morning. The images are accompanied by the words I overheard a fellow missionary collegue say recently. He said, "But would you rather the evil be hidden so you don't even realize it is there, or wouldn't you rather have it right out there in the open, where you know exactly what evil you are fighting?" I've been challenged by this today, and I hope you are as well. We live amongst evil each and every day...all of us. The illusion that it is more evil in any part of this fallen world than another, is a lie. The concept that missionaries are more, "needed," in a certain area than another because of the quantifiable personifation of evil, is just as faulty.
Evil is a reality in this world, and anyone willing to stand up and fight against it is needed, just leave the how and the WHERE up to GOD.