Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Spirals of disillusionment

I don't often do posts like this. I'm going to bare my soul before the world.

Coming halfway across the world in attempts at making a difference have not worked out as we planned. Some days we can see positive effects and others seem like we have actually done more harm than good. (Thankfully, there are more days when it looks good than bad.)

Part of the problem is that I'm human. The other part is that those I work with are too.

I was going to go into detail here, but I don't want to incriminate those I wanted to mention. And being vague and general serves little purpose.

On a personal level, my moods swing with work-related events that hit. I'd like to be more insulated, but then my compassion would go out the window.

Perspective is important. One friend said yesterday that we should be content with what can actually be done in a day. (That was an oversimplification of what Dallas Willard had said to a meeting of leaders here, about ten years ago.)

The comforting knowledge is that God has a plan that's way bigger than what we can see.

We would appreciate your prayers.


jon swanson said...

actually, Paul, being vague does serve a great purpose: without gossipping, it reveals your need for intercession. Which is starting now.

and for encouragement, check my post about you and how you were used to help me.

Joyce said...

thank you for visiting my site. How ironic that the cabin and brother I described has spent the better part of his life in Africa as well. He lives for five weeks of the year on the lake, but is currently living with his family in Uganda. He has spent many years in Ethiopia.
I will visit again. Your sense of discouragement is not unique, but very valid. Recognizing the "human-ness" of all is crucial- you are not the mighty North American savior come to solve the problems of some far away land. With that humility comes great wisdom.
I mean that in a kind way, not to offend you in any way.
I'm glad to have found your site.

Kyle said...

Hi Paul. I miss seeing you. I experience discouragment plenty regularly, and I didn't even have to fly overseas to find it. Yours must have a partucularly lonely and isolated flavor to it. Robin and I will be praying for you guys.

Nairobi Paul said...

Great reminder, Joyce, that I am not the savior of Kenya.

And Kyle, I look forward to the day when I see you and Robin again! Also a good reminder that internal problems exist no matter which country we live in.

Jon, I appreciate your story of how you were able to use my blog to help kids. A great encouragement!

Carlotti said...

Getting overwhelmed by the big picture is, alas, such as human thing to do. No matter where we are, it is easy to get lost in the woods and not notice the beauty around us. I suffer from this affliction as well.

I like the advice about being content with what can be done in a day. Keeps you in the moment, keeps you present, and keeps you accessible to people.

Carry on, doing one thing at a time.

3rdfloor20 said...

Hi Paul,

I translated a document a few weeks ago. The document was written by a missionary from about 50 or 60 years ago. (sorry, to lazy to look up details right now. In essence, he said that his efforts were hampered in a manner you speak of. Times haven't changed much, from what you say, althoough this was in E. Cameroon.

Glad I could read your point of view. There are surely people there whose lives were affcted in a more positive way than you think.

Where you can find Paul Merrill

If you are looking for Paul Merrill, go over to  Shiny Bits of Life , which is my main blog - or  Greener Grass Media , which is my somewhat...