A typhoon had temporarily stranded a monkey on an island. In a secure, protected place on the shore, while waiting for the raging waters to recede, he spotted a fish swimming against the current. It seemed obvious to the monkey that the fish was struggling and in need of assistance. Being of kind heart, the monkey resolved to help the fish. A tree precariously dangled over the very spot where the fish seemed to be struggling. At considerable risk to himself, the monkey moved far out on a limb, reached down and snatched the fish from the threatening waters. Immediately scurrying back to the safety of his shelter, he carefully laid the fish on dry ground. For a few moments the fish showed excitement, but soon settled into a peaceful rest. Joy and satisfactions swelled inside the monkey. He had successfully helped another creature.This story comes out of Duane Elmer's book Cross-Cultural Servanthood: Serving the World in Christlike Humility.
We read this book in my Cross-Cultural Anthropology class for MTI and I thought it was incredibly valuable. The monkey in a way is what could be called a 'benevolent oppressor'; the monkey has the kindest of intentions but his understanding of the fish is that fish need air to breathe not water, and in attempting to serve the fish, the monkey killed it. Elmer builds off of this theme for missionaries. Often times, missionaries go to the field thinking, "I have the key, the information, the education, the resources to fix this country up to where God has always intended it to be." Somehow that pride, that sense of wanting to fix things that are broken seep in without us realizing it. Instead of pride we must be humble, instead of thinking we have all the answers we must serve and learn from the people we are serving. It is a great reminder, and the book as a whole is worth a read whether you are a missionary or not. I was quite convicted about how I evaluate people and make small judgments about them without even knowing them. I like to people watch, I think it is fun. But when people watching turns into thinking you know who they are based on what they wear or how they act in a certain place or time is another.
Along with that class, MTI has been going strong this semester. We are in the middle of the Protestant Reformation in Church History which is appropriate since tomorrow is REFORMATION DAY (a.k.a. Halloween). We are trying to understand English and Greek grammar in New Testament Exegesis of Epistles, but often failing - grammar is a language of its own. And we are priveleged to read and study the New Testament in a survey class. All in all, things are great and I cannot believe that in six weeks I will graduate from the Missions Training Institute! Craziness.
Plus! Great news. Several new people joined my financial support team putting me at around 40%! Praise God for His provision!
Thanks for reading, praying, giving, and loving!