“I didn’t think you should go to Russia.” I have heard that sentiment from more than one person since I returned from my most recent trip. Some were concerned about my mobility issues (using a cane while still recovering from my broken leg/hip). Others were worried about the blood clots in my calf and flying for hours on end. Still others were concerned about the tension between the USA and Russia over politics, Syria, etc. While I appreciated the concern, I also appreciated the fact that most waited until afterwards to voice their reservations.
Without being overly defensive, let me try to explain why I proceeded with the trip as planned.
- I tend to be optimistic. When told in November I was facing a six-month recovery process, I calculated that April was the sixth month and barring a setback, I should be recovered enough to proceed.
- While cautious, I am not fearful. I am not risk averse. I choose not to live in fear of “what if?” I know I am safer in harm’s way if I’m in God’s will than I am sitting at home in my easy chair. If I am overly worried and fearful, I also know that is a giant that needs to be conquered.
- I feel a responsibility to use my gifts for God’s glory (Matthew 25:14-30). I don’t want to stand before God and have him ask me why I took it easy or didn’t do more with what he has given me.
- Something has happened every time I’ve gone on a short-term ministry trip that I have had to trust God for (health, job, political crisis, personnel, car repairs, family, etc.). My injury was just one more thing.
- I listened to and trusted my doctors. None of my doctors—surgeon, primary care physician, vascular surgeon—were overly concerned about my mobility and/or blood clots. None of them told me to stay home. All three said I should not have any problems. I also followed their instructions for my prescriptions, compression socks, and walking.
- I went with the blessing of my wife and church elders.
- I knew I had help while traveling—wheelchair assistance in airports, and the friends I travel and work with.
- Having built a friendship over several years with the missionaries I work with and the men and women I would be teaching, I would have been disappointed had I not been able to keep my commitment.
I am grateful for answered prayer. I am thankful that God healed me enough that I was able to travel. I am grateful that he protected me while traveling. I am thankful that he blessed the ministry. I am grateful that he continues to use me to teach and equip others.
Thanks be to God!