I didn't launch this blog to try to solicit money, support or prayers. I am not trying to get any help from anyone by what I write on this blog. For a couple reasons. One, we don't really have any big financial needs. Two, I want to write for the sake of writing what I really think--not in order to have an effect that somehow benefits myself. Even if I were trying to raise funds or something I would still be honest... but I might choose different things to write about or wonder about the effect of things I said. I want to save myself from that whole conundrum so that I can just write and log some of my thoughts related to missions and things I've learned over the years. I would like to write a book someday and not only does this blog allow me to keep track of my thoughts and experiences, but it also allows me the opportunity to "pre-publish" these ideas, get feedback and critique before ever putting them into a book.
The reason I'm telling you all this right now is because right now would be a good time for me to ask for prayers. I don't want to put that on anyone--I myself don't spend a lot of time praying for anonymous people on the internet. But anyway...
There is a certain sadness... depression... that comes when you live in a situation where you know you are not wanted. This is not a general consensus kind of thing here in The Location. It does not come from all quarters--many are delighted to have me here. Others see me as an opportunity to make money. And then there are some... mostly government people... who view me with suspicion. For what reason? Just because I'm a foreigner to The Location.
There is a certain brainwashing that comes with official training here in The Location. All police go through it. Military, too. Any official that wants to climb the ladder within the government must study in a certain school of thought. And all of these people are trained to be wary of outsiders. They see religion as politics--it is just one way the imperialists use to further their political agenda. And this is taught at all the schools, too. Every single college, even if it is a business or technical college, must teach courses in "politics." And the message is clear--If you love your country then do not work with foreigners; do not join their religion; do not allow yourself to be warped by their thinking.
The funny thing is, though, that this very teaching is their way to warp young people's thinking to parrot their message. They use the word "unity" to silence any opposition. Anyone who would criticize the government is destroying national unity and therefore must not be a patriot.
The Location is a wonderful place and when tourists come to visit they typically are surprised to find it so relaxed and laid-back. And they usually go away with a positive view of the situation here. But it takes time to see the depth of the oppression.
Lately a number of things have been said against me and we have run into some problems on a number of different fronts. Others I know have been kicked out of The Location. It could happen to us, too. A couple years ago a faithful man (national) and co-worker of a friend was detained and disappeared, never to be seen again. Last night I had a dream about being detained by the police and having others with me arrested, too. In real life I was once detained by the police and interrogated for a couple hours. It was pretty intense and stressful. Now I have a family and the thought of something like that happening to me again, or to them, weighs on me. Not heavily... just a constant weight over a long period of time.
Anyway, I know that who I am and what I stand for is not readily welcomed here, and there is an associated stress with that knowledge. I have come to realize this. And with that stress, over time, comes a certain kind of mild depression. I am dealing with all of this right now.
This morning I am thinking about David and what he faced as King of Israel. He had his enemies, yet he praised the Lord. This is what I choose to do, too. God's plan will not be thwarted and I take joy in that.