The rain drummed on the windshield. My fingers drummed on the car door. We sat at the U-Haul station waiting for the mechanic to fix our hitch. Another delay. Sigh.
We were trying to embark on our trip from Florida to Michigan for AFM training, and it seemed like we kept hitting roadblocks. We had a long way to drive that day, but we tried to keep our frustration down. Flexibility is the middle name of every missionary, and we are working it into our signature.
In Cambodia, everything takes longer. Washing vegetables from the market could take up the whole afternoon. When you set out to accomplish something that day, you may return home hours later without having it checked off your list. Instead, maybe you talked with five people you didn’t plan on seeing and helped someone pull their motorbike out of the mud. This can be frustrating, but what matters is our attitude and how we use each of those unplanned encounters to uplift Jesus. In America, our hurried culture prevents many encounters that could open up opportunities for building relationships. Eric and I want to change our outlook and enjoy the journey more rather than being solely focused on the destination; to value relationships more than agendas.
Reflecting on the journey of Jesus on this earth, we notice that He valued relationships far more than His personal checklist. After a long boat ride, Jesus met Jairus who was seeking help for his daughter. Jesus probably had a plan for the day, but He set it aside to care for Jairus’ daughter. While He was walking there, a bleeding woman sought His healing, and He paused again to speak with her. He could have focused on Jairus’ daughter and ignored the woman. But Jesus cared for individuals, not time.
When I look back on our trip north, the little delays didn’t matter. We enjoyed our trip and our lovely encounters with various friends, strangers, donors and family members. We can learn from Jesus and the Cambodians: take life as it comes and value personal encounters over personal agendas.