Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Reality Sets In - The Plunge

I was getting more and more nervous with each step I took up to the platform for the green slide.  Up to this point I had been going down the blue slide. It curved and twisted at a "manageable" speed down to the pool. This was my idea of fun. The green slide on the left of the picture (that basically drops straight down) was not.

My 5 year old niece and 11 year old nephew had been happily going down the green slide all day without any fear, but here I was at the top looking down and about to faint. To me it looked like I would be going down something like this.

As I stood at the top I remembered the graph I had seen in the book Serving as Senders by Neal Pirolo. I realized that this green slide was a great illustration of what I would be experiencing on the field next year. This is a representation of a missionary's physical, emotional, spiritual and mental life time line as they prepare, reach the field and serve in the ministry.

The horizontal line is the "baseline" of where a missionary was before they felt "called." It seems great to have that steady rise of excitement about going to the field and serving the Lord, however, when you reach the top you take a plunge and "Reality Sets In."

Right now I am slowly climbing those steps and getting more and more excited about the journey that I am taking with God. I am learning and studying and making connections that will help me on the field and every day I am getting a little closer to being ready to leave.

"No matter how much you plan and how well conferences prepare you, this missionary stuff is going to take you for a ride!"

This quote is not from any missionary book or conference speaker, rather it was written by Cherie, my missionary friend, who has now been serving in Ethiopia for 6 months. I am so thankful for her insights and those of my other missionary friends already on the field and those who will soon reach the field. The "ride" will take a steep plunge for us all and when reality does set in we will need your prayers, love, and encouragement more than ever. You likely won't understand what we are going through, but please try to be compassionate and share kind words, while remembering that this is something we must go through to get back above our "baseline."

So, back to the water slides. What do you think I decided to do?
  1. Move over to the blue slide, since just seeing the illustration in my mind was good enough. 
  2. Take a peaceful walk back down the steps, since I really didn't even like the curvy blue slide. 
  3. Sit down at the top of that green slide, push myself over the edge and scream like a girl the entire way down. 
If you were at the pool last Saturday you know that #3 is the correct answer and I thank you all for your cheering, applause and laughter as I came up out of the water after my plunge.  I am glad I was able to provide some comic relief. 

Since I  hope to reach the field by next March, it is likely that my plunge will be sometime next fall. I just hope that everyone who reads my blog and is partnering with me in the ministry will be as gracious as those people at the pool last Saturday and will be there to encourage, cheer, clap and laugh with me as I make my way back up and over the baseline once more.

"Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You're not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It's the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won't last forever. It won't be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ - eternal and glorious plans they are! - will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does. 

1 Peter 5:8-11 (The Message)


  1. You are going to be great Shannon. I can't wait to follow you on this journey.

  2. Thank you Shannon for such encouraging words. Can't wait for more on your journey!