I have been blessed to be able to train and work as a “doula”. This job involves encouraging, coaching, informing, and physically supporting woman through the incredible experience of childbirth. During the tough parts of labour, when mom is in transition or pushing, she can feel overwhelmed or discouraged.
As a doula, I can’t tell a mom in the midst of labour pains, “Don’t worry, if you don’t like it, you can just go home” or “If it’s too hard, you can always stop, someone else can do this job for you.” Childbirth doesn’t quite work like that. One way or another, this baby needs to be born. So I get to challenge and encourage these women saying, “Mom, I know this is hard and painful, but you can do this! You’re doing such a great job, and soon you’ll get to hold your baby!” What a privilege it is to see these mothers regain focus, remember she can do this, and deliver her baby.
Missions is a lot like childbirth
In some ways, missions is a lot like childbirth. So often we’re tempted to think, “I can’t do this. I can’t do this!” or “This it’s too difficult, I can’t continue.” Even the best of us get discouraged and overwhelmed at times.
Missionaries have an awesome job. They get to share the Gospel with people who have never heard. Many times, they are the only people available and able to communicate this message and failure can mean years, if not decades, more waiting for the lost. That is a tremendous burden to bear.
Sometimes, missionaries share fears and feeling of hopelessness with partners, friends, or their home churches and too often the reply is, “Why don’t you just come home?” “Think about your health!” “Think about your family and friends here!”
These well meaning comments can be loving, but what missionaries don’t need during struggles is an encouragement to quit, they need someone to respond like a doula. Someone to remind them of Biblical truths and help them focus on Christ! “Missionary, this is already hard and painful, but you can do this through Christ! He has done amazing things already and will continue to do great things through you! Don’t forget that soon you’ll get to fall into the arms of Christ!”
Missionaries can’t take the Gospel to the unreached alone, they need the Body of Christ to walk with them through trials or difficulties. Will you be that help?! Will you “hold the ropes” of those who are descending into the spiritually dark regions of the World? Will you pray, send letters of encouragement, or even call a missionary? Will you step up to the task of being a “doula” to the missionary?!
The Leedahl’s journey to the mission field included many miracles, but a life-altering motorcycle accident only seven months into their time in Papua New Guinea left them asking… “Why, God?” This is their journey.