I sat at the bottom of the cliff assessing my injuries. My elbow was looking quite deformed; I had two swollen lips ; my leg was beat up ; and my ankle, neck and head felt like they’d had quite a jostle. “Did you break anything?” My companions apprehensively called down to me from the trail. I knew they were hoping they wouldn’t have to carry me out of the mountains.
We had left Kemantian about eight hours earlier, heading to Mermá for the weekend. The church leaders had made up a monthly rotation until a more permanent missionary could be found for them. This was my month to go with them and see patients. The trail had been very treacherous. It was mainly on the side of the mountain, so I was constantly struggling to keep from sliding down the mountain. I had already fallen once and hit my mouth on a root, but that tumble had been nothing compared to this one.
Once I got myself together, my companions helped me figure out the best way to get back up to the trail. I had slipped over a small rock cliff, so I had to hike back up alongside of it. The next hour of hiking until we reached Mermá was painful and tiring, as I was even more nervous about falling. My companions kept trying to help by reminding me to only grab onto live trees and to make certain of my footing before taking each step. I appreciated their concern, but it didn’t help much. Thankfully , we reached Mermá with no more major mishaps except for stepping in a fire-ant nest.
As we enjoyed the Sabbath in Mermá I kept thinking about the hike back on Sunday. I had no desire to go back the way we had come, so we decided to hike out via the riverbed to the lowlands and then back into Kemantian from there. As I thought about my fear of Friday’s treacherous trail, I realized it was the first time I had really been afraid of physical harm. What am I willing to sacrifice to bring the gospel to the people of Mermá? I wondered. Am I willing to hike that trail again next month if necessary? Am I willing to risk getting hurt even worse to share the truth with them? It seemed like such a little thing—just a difficult trail. It was nothing like the peril that missionaries years ago risked to share the gospel. As I have thought about these questions since then, I know that my answer will have to be yes. I must be willing to do what it takes to share Jesus with the people here. I must be willing to give all and to trust God with the rest.
Sometimes God asks us to do hard things, to go to hard places, to step outside our comfort zones and follow Him with childlike faith. Are we willing to do that? Are we willing to say with Peter, “But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy”?