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"And whatever you do in word and deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father." Colossians 3:17

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The Fear of Being USELESS. By Mary Ann Nunez

Malawi, July 1, 2016

I had set foot on African soil for the first time three days earlier unencumbered with the usual anxieties of the missions traveler.  The scene rushing past me in the van transported me back to my childhood in Latin America. I am thrilled to be back in what I considered my 'natural habitat.' I did, however, arrive with one deep fear: the fear of being USELESS.

As I look around the vehicle, my angst grows.  I am surrounded with smart, beautiful, dignified, powerful women of God. Me: my missionary skirts have turned my shape into one big barrel, a Pig-Pen'esk dust cloud following me where ever I go. I haven't stopped crying since the first time I made eye contact with the most gorgeous people I have ever seen. My gift of languages has been stripped from me; unable to even remember the simplest greeting.

We arrive at the church in Kasungu. Oh the welcome! Kings and dignitaries have received a lesser greeting. The men look sharp in their suits and ties, the women flawless in there white church dresses. They dance, they sing; I cry…and cry…and cry.

They have asked some of us to speak to the women, but not me. "Lord," I beg, "this is my gift. Give me a microphone, give me a translator, I got this!" "No." And so I sit facing the women—sobbing. (not a dignified single tear rolling down my face, but messy, disgusting rivers making dirt track down my red, blotchy skin) And so the enemy of my soul begins to whisper to me, "What are you doing here? You are utterly useless! You are a distraction." I give into the voice for a few minutes... THEN I look up and make eye contact with a woman in front of me.  She sits with perfect posture, but I see the uneasiness in her eyes. I notice that her white outfit is worn and stained. I realize she is me, I am her.

My focus shifts away from my petty, pity party. I begin to pray earnestly, "Lord, here I am, empty, unable to rely on my own strength. I surrender. I am open to what ever you have for me." As the women line up to hug us at the end, He does what only He can do. I become His arms, His eyes, His feet. And as they take their seats, I am looking at my sisters. I feel a bond, a kinship. They feel it too…without ever saying a word.  I cry.