NHUM asked Wayne Craig to share his experiences as a short-term missionary. Wayne has been on 5 mission trips with Pastor Ron Dazell to help train local pastors through our Pastoral Training Institute (PTI). The purpose of PTI is to train local pastors so that they are able to bring the gospel effectively into their own communities. Wayne is currently planning his 6th trip. Wayne and Ron’s service and sacrifice to partner in this way has been a tremendous blessing to the ministry.
It’s so amazing as I look back at events in my life. I can clearly see how God has challenged me with things I thought were impossible and yet He was there by my side helping me get through them. The two pictures above are a great example. This was from a mission trip back in August 2016. I had only been in Uganda at Kasana for a day or two and I received a frantic call from Uncle Syd at the Musana Camps. He asked if I was a mechanic and if I would be willing to change my plans and spend the next week at Musana. He said his Bobcat loaders had broken down; and with Uncle Nathan on furlough in the states and Uncle KB back in the States on a short-term leave, he needed all the help he could get.
I remember thinking that, well, this is why I’m here, to help wherever I’m needed. Of course God knew how much I didn’t enjoy doing mechanic work so I found it a little funny the Bobcat loader broke down the second day I’m there. But I told Uncle Syd, “I’m not a mechanic, but I know how to turn a wrench and I’m willing to try.” So as you can see, we got the loader fixed the first day (I say we but it was mostly Uncle Syd–I was just there to help where I could and unfortunately catch a lot of hydraulic fluid down my chin, neck, and chest) and then I just spent the next week jumping from one task to another. I worked on applying finishing coats of lacquer to wood, carpentry work, hauling loads of gravel and large rock with the dump truck, hauling loads of sawdust for the latrines, hauling trash when needed, and even helped in the kitchen serving food to the campers.
So here I am, a licensed electrician who has been in the electrical industry for over 25 years doing everything but electrical work. But that’s the point, isn’t it? God will challenge us and ask us to do things we are not comfortable doing, things that are not easy and/or things that we don’t know how to do. The real question is, are you willing to listen to God and are you willing to obey? Not all short-term mission trips are like this, especially if you’re with a large group. The large groups tend to be more detailed and planned out but that’s due to the logistics of providing for a large group. But just because you’re with a larger group doesn’t mean there won’t be challenges, and at times a whole lot of patience and grace will be required.
I’m going to close out this series with the next blog post. In the next post I would like to share about some of the men and women from NHU & NHUM whom I have made an effort to build a relationship with and now call my friends. A couple of these men have really inspired me to want to be a better Christian man for the kingdom and I hope someday you will also have the great honor of meeting them. I give these men praise, not for the words they speak but because of the lives they have led and continue to lead.