068For all the cool stuff on our trip, I don’t know how anyone could walk away from our experience in Liberia without some level of frustration.  It mostly comes because for some reason I (we?) kind of like to be the hero…and we were made to feel like heroes for one week of our lives.  Still, reality sets in and I realize I’m…

-Frustrated because there are too many problems for me to fix.

-Frustrated becuase I don’t have enough resources or contacts or influence to solve their problems.

-Frustrated because sometimes I know how they could do something better (and sometimes I just think I do).

-Frustrated becuase the line between “a hand out” and “a hand up” is really blurry.

-Frustrated because I’ll never be able to fully communicate what we experienced to others who could help.

-Frustrated becuase I’m pretty sure something else will capture my heart and my attentiveness to their needs will wane with time.

During one of our reflection times at night, Karla (from Muncie) read something from a journal she had been given for the trip.  I’m going to post it here.  It’s worth a read especially if you are like me at all:  Someone who needs to find contentment in being PART of bringing heaven to earth without needing to be the SAVIOR.

It helps, now and then, to step back and take the long view.

The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is beyond our vision.


We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.

Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us.


No statement says all that could be said.

No prayer fully expresses our faith

No confession brings perfection.

No pastoral visit brings wholeness.

No program accomplishes the church’s mission.

No set of goals and objectives includes everything.


This is what we’re about:

We plant seeds that one day will grow.

We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.

We lay foundations that will need further development.

We provide yeast that produces effects beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.

This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.

It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for God’s grace to enter   

                and do the rest.


We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the    


We are the workers, not the master builders, ministers, not messiahs.

We are prophets of a future not our own.



          Oscar Romera

Here are a few more pictures:

026Denise pouring some love into children outside the clinic

023Part of the church construction…this is actually whee the baptistery will go in the church building.

0112A newly painted sign for the church.  It went up a few days before we left.

~ by Greg Lee on February 27, 2009.

4 Responses to “Frustration”

  1. The words from Karla’s journal entry are a reminder that this World is truly in God’s hands and not our own. The creator of the universe begs us to participate in His work but he never leaves the results up to us. It is a good thing because this trip really reminded me of how inadequate I am to not only save others but to save myself. I suppose so many of us including myself are result oriented. Yet I am not sure God has ever asked us to be result oriented as much as he has said he wants us to be faithful. And serving him is truly about faith because we continue to serve others even when we cannot see how in the World God is doing anything.

  2. Greg, you and your co-workers have helped far more than you can possibly imagine. You have touched many lives…and they have touched yours. The circle remains unbroken as we pay forward any and all kindnesses and charitable acts that we can. I admire you all!

  3. well said, David. Martha, you are one of the most encouraging people in the world to me.

  4. Wonderful sentiments and thank you for sharing Karla’s reflection. I will have that with me for a very long time.

    My daughter, (little adult sometimes) frequently asks if I had a chance to talk to Greg. She knew I was excited that Greg and Jenny were back with us. For the first time however, I felt so irrelevant and wanted to hold back on any enthusiasm that I felt at that moment that might have been important to anyone. I was at a loss for words. What could I possibly say to someone who has witnessed so much? A meet I was so looking forward to all week. I wanted to ask so many questions but came to the conclusion who am I? I walked away feeling I really fumbled that conversation Saturday night. As I write this, I realize we have to pick up the ball and call another play. Without Greg and everyone at Suncrest, I would not feel so encouraged. I can’t wait to hear more about Africa.

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