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The Blessings and Cursings of Time

I got left at home, a lot! Every other week my mother had to be at school early for the kids who got dropped off before day light. This was a fun time that I really looked forward to each day. I liked being the first one to arrive and hang out with my mom and play before school. But, because I was not ready to go when my mom left I got left at home. Don’t worry, my dad was still there. I just wanted to go in early with her.
Time was valuable, and still is to my mother, and it eventually became valuable to me. But, when I reached the point in my life where time became valuable, I was subjected to a culture that didn’t have the same values as I did. This culture, like many others, did not operate on a time system. They operated on a relationship system.
Have you considered the value of time?
In our Western culture, time is relatively valuable and fairly reliable. The majority of this culture stays true to our time boundaries.
The same is not true in most other parts of the world. Time has very little to no significance.
We are not talking about 10 minutes late to a meeting or dinner. We are talking dinner is at 5:00, and your guests might start leaving at 5:30. But, they don’t have their own car, so that means 3-5 bus stops and then walking from the main road into your village.
We are not talking about laying out the plans for a project start to finish and being a week behind schedule. This is, the city went on strike and no one shows up, or the workers decide they will not work today, or another random holiday that lasts for a week or there aren’t enough resources to get your job done so we just wait because you aren’t sure if they’ll get that in stock ever again.
We are talking about days, weeks, months, years of walking a community before you see signs of interest in the good news you are sharing.
We are talking about days of travel back to the main city to have to shop, bank and do paperwork which takes away time from the work we are there to do.
We are talking having a schedule for your kid’s homeschool routine, but the neighbor shows up at tea time and wants to visit.
Have you considered the value of time for your missionaries and the cultures they live in?
It is nice to not be tied to a clock, and the value of relationships helps shed light on priorities. However, the western mind that most of our missionaries have is driven by time and time equals progress.
The frustrations can get you.
The expectations can haunt you.
The pressure will wear you down.
MAKE TIME to talk to your partners about what time is like where they serve. What time does to their hearts and their minds and their relationships with family and teams. ASK them about ways you can pray for them, encourage them, and keep them accountable to the time pressures they face where they serve. This is a great opportunity for you to learn about and pray for the people group where your partners are serving.

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