Almost a year ago I arrived back in Saint Vincent on August 30 2021 following my medical furlough which included two cataract surgeries. I came home twenty-pounds heavier to a very happy dog 🙂
My medical furlough was frustrating because it meant leaving ministry for eight weeks….
But in the long-term it was a blessing because I came back stronger.
Last July I wrote about this in a series of posts through missionary memories, but a large cataract in my left eye (had less than 25% vision) and small in my right eye had worn me down. I was struggling not only physically, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually as well. The lack of proper eyesight affected everything else.
With the Lord’s help I came back at 100% in every way, and was able to re-enter ministry at full strength.
My medical furlough taught me a very hard, but important lesson.
Missionaries need breaks.
This is something I actually didn’t agree with in the past. I held to missionaries not taking extended breaks (except for furloughs) from the field because it took them away from their ministry.
The medical furlough changed my mind about this because ministry wears you down. Being on the front-lines of spiritual warfare is exhausting so it’s sometimes necessary to step away from ministry for spiritual renewal.
I used to go home for Christmas every year spending two-weeks with family. I am actually writing about my 2018 Christmas visit this week in my “missionary memories” portion of the blog. But because of Covid among other things, it was 2 1/2 years before I came back to the States.
This was too long without a break
As someone who used to view breaks from ministry as something bad let me assure you they aren’t. They are opportunities to catch your breath, focus on the Lord, and return stronger. It may not be possible to go to another Country, but it is possible to incorporate ministry breaks into the year.
I’m grateful for a busy ministry God has given
But I am also grateful for breaks from that ministry so I can serve Him effectively.