I just received a newsletter from a missionary friend in Africa today and she said that “the work was unrelenting at times.” That word unrelenting really hit me because it describes how our lives have been for a couple of years now. According to the dictionary, unrelenting means inflexible, not diminishing in intensity.
Unrelenting as JBI students sitting in class at 7 a.m. expecting a teacher to show up for the first morning class and all the following class periods of the day.
Unrelenting as my mobile phone beeps messages early each morning telling me that the construction crew needs cement, sand or something else. I buy all the building supplies so I must head to the hardware store at a moment’s notice if the work is to progress.
Unrelenting as phone calls come from JBI grads on outer islands asking for tracts and Bibles to be sent to them for outreaches. This means finding out when ships are traveling (no set schedules here) and then being at the wharf to hand over the boxes before the ship sails. Often it means standing on the wharf only to find the ship decided to sail early or not at all.
Unrelenting means wearing far too many hats and some which fit uncomfortably like JBI bookkeeping and office management. This year Gary has had to take over the school finances and office work along with being the school principal and a full-time teacher. He will do this until a qualified, trustworthy office person is found.
Unrelenting as the unfinished manuscript for the national Sunday School lesson book sitting on my desk, the publishing deadline has already past. Sunday school teachers around the country have been waiting for this book to be translated into the Bislama language. I can find no one to do it and can’t find the hours and weeks to finish it myself.
Unrelenting as twice-weekly chapel services and weekend speaking in churches. Requests to come and speak on specific topics or to address specific problems keep coming in but time does not always permit.
Unrelenting as homeschooling our two children. Math, English, and Science workbooks pile up and need regular correcting by mom and dad.
Unrelenting as emails fill the inbox asking for reports, special letters and favors. Sometimes it is a request to find a taxi driver by the name of Tom who drove a tourist around last month…sometimes just a note to say a church can no longer support us.
As Paul says, “…besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches” (2 Cor.11:28).
The work is unrelenting because the need is great and the laborers are few. Pray for new missionaries to join us at Joy Bible Institute!