If you have been in missions any length of time, you have experienced disappointment with a national person you’ve trusted.
It’s not a question of if, but when.
Someone will break your trust, they might steal from you, or worse.
I know of national workers who were entrusted with a ministry only to overthrow the leader; stealing the work.
But at the very least we will have people we invest in disappoint us.
It could be through sin. At times they fail in areas of money, sex, or power. Perhaps they just vanish.
I’ve recently had this happen to me…(again).
Someone I believe in and spent a lot of time with went AWOL. They fell off the deep end. The guy disappeared from the face of the Earth. Choose whatever word picture you want, he is gone.
He didn’t steal from me. There was never a hint of inappropriate action towards my wife or children. He just left.
My story is common. So when, (again, not if), this happens how should we (I) respond?
The number one response when someone lets us down is to stop trusting. We view all the nationals through the lens of one person. When one lets us down, find another to invest in.
I’ve seen a common trend in many shame based cultures. If someone feels like they’ve failed or disappointed a mentor, the default response is flight. We need to know that raising up men and women of God is a long journey, not a sprint. There will be failings and restarts. So with the person who has let us down, we must maintain hope that they will return. Again and again, just like someone did with us.
3. View them as people, not “nationals”
Over the years, I have heard far too many negative statements about not being able to trust nationals, questions as to their motives, or false beliefs that they simply are not “civilized” enough to succeed. That’s Rubbish! They are people. Any pastor, business leader, or human being who works with people has had the same sense of disappointment we experience. People are broken. Isn’t that the ultimate reason why we do what we do?
At the end of the day, if we are not “risking” with people enough to be disappointed at times, what are we really accomplishing?
So yes, be hurt. Be disappointed. Sigh a good sigh.
Then get back up and go back and invest in someone else. Be willing to be let down again.
(Here concludes my motivational pep talk to myself……and many others)
Please lend your voice. What points would you add for dealing with disappointment?
– Chris Lautsbaugh, Missionary teacher and author with Youth With A Mission, living in S. Africa.
Blog: NoSuperHeroes Twitter: @lautsbaugh Facebook: NoSuperHeroes