Day 4: of Advent Stories
Anthony and Kristen Miele returned to the United States in summer of 2021 after serving more than two years in Balfate, Colón, Honduras where Anthony was a physician with Hospital Loma de Luz and Kristen taught health classes through their Children’s Home and bilingual school. In a season of uncertainty about their next steps, Kristen reflects on God’s presence and promises.
Many Christians and non-Christians inappropriately assume that missionaries are a 2.0 version of a follower of Jesus. Even missionaries themselves can start to believe this lie as miraculous work happens on the field, supporters sing your praises, and friends are repeatedly in awe of ‘your ability’ to move abroad and handle new lifestyles, cultures, and languages. And yet, each of us truly brings nothing to the cross of Jesus- except- our own sin. Even our fragrant gifts, like modern day versions of gold, frankincense, and myrrh are only able to be brought to the King because the Lord Himself has first provided it to us. Every ‘mission field’ of the world is difficult, some much more than others. And yet…we have a very present God in all places. God’s presence was shown time and time again at Hospital Loma de Luz through miracles, through answered prayers, through new funding/giving, through tangible provisions in a resource-deprived place, and even through peaceful deaths of patients. But sometimes more unbelievable than those, was the way we each heard God’s voice again and again, almost audibly. Just when I (Kristen) would feel alone, I could almost see Jesus sitting or walking with me. Just when I cried out to God, ” I feel so sad, so forsaken, so hurt, so _____,” He would answer clearly, “I know child, me too. I’ve felt that too.” Just when I would say, “I can’t stop focusing on this thing from the past, ” He would send me to Isaiah 43:
Do not remember the past, pay no attention to things of old. Look, I am about to do something new, even now. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness.
Before going abroad, Anthony and I often thought these leanings, or biblical-sounding thoughts were basically our own mind, or our own will, bringing us to these ‘revelations.’ However, we know the truth now. It was never us. It was always the Wonderful Counselor, the Holy Spirit in us, leading us to know Him more, to trust in Him more, and most importantly, leading us to recognize the holiest, most significant miracle-Him, and Him alone.
Life often doesn’t go the way we want it to. Even our Christian walks of faith pale in comparison to the shining hope we once had for them. Yet, God is faithful, even though we are not. He is faithful to answer when we seek and knock. He is ever present, leading us beside quiet waters, calming the storm, offering to be our anchor when the storm won’t stop raging. Even ‘missionaries’ have the false idea that God just might reward them with less troubles when they ‘go on the field.’ God doesn’t always give us what we want—praise His name—He gives us so much better, even when it doesn’t seem like it. Even when Jesus is born as a baby, in a barn—Gods plan is higher, and better. Even when your life is not what you wanted, God’s plan is still great. Even when the sinless man hangs on a cross, God’s plan is perfect. He is good, He will always be good, but most importantly, He is worthy to be worshipped this Christmas, and every other season of life.
by Kristen Miele