“I could never do that.”
A common misconception others have when they find out Jonathan and I plan to go on the mission field in Africa is that we are somehow super-humans or super-Christians. However, this could not be farther from the truth.
Yes, Jonathan and I are preparing to move to a new continent.
We will learn a new language.
We will find ourselves in a vastly different culture and environment.
Our job atmospheres and roles will be different.
Difficulties will arise — some will be anticipated and some will be completely unexpected.
And we will struggle.
Because we are only humans and we like the comfort and routine of our first-world lives.
But when we struggle, and undoubtedly, become discouraged, and are sure we’ve failed, we will not respond by quitting simply because it is not easy or pleasant — because we can’t do it.
Instead, we will lean closer into Christ.
Because the one factor that definitely did not influence our decision was our ability.
Here’s the truth:
I, Bethany Edwards, in and of myself, cannot do missions.
– Before we present at churches and conferences, I get so nervous I shake and I wish I could be anywhere but right there about to be the center of attention. I am not a natural public speaker. Please put me in the back pew and I will sit contentedly and listen all day.
– I’m quite frankly afraid I will be awful at speaking French. I took Spanish in high school, but French sounds so complicated. (Why don’t they pronounce words like they’re spelled?)
– I struggle with so many doubts and feelings of inadequacies already and we’re not even officially on the field yet. Like, What if my nursing experience here in the States was not the right experience I need to care for patients at the Hospital of Hope? What if the culture switch is too overwhelming and I really miss family and I’m really bad at cooking from scratch all the time? Or even, What if the Mango sun is too much for my fair skin and I get skin cancer??
So, now you know: I am not extremely qualified or a spiritual giant. Jonathan would tell you the same about him (although his concerns are not quite so trivial as some of mine ;).
Hence, when we ask for support through prayer, we really do need it.
And when we ask you if you will consider partnering with us financially, please know that you are not giving to support Jonathan and Bethany and the great things they will do for Togo. If that were the case, your money would be wasted.
Instead, know that we are trusting God to be glorified through our weaknesses. Without Him, we would fail. But throughout history, He has specialized in using weak and unexpected people to accomplish his will and display his glory.
We are simply going because HE has called us to.
So in response to the statement,
“I could never do that,”
You’re absolutely right – you can’t.
And we can’t either.
But, with the help of the One who has called us and is faithful to provide for us, even in the smallest details, a random IT nerd and a nurse can be used by Him to accomplish what they never could on their own.
And so can you.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10