This week I was executed in a simulation exercise. The situation was simple. A group of missionaries were taken hostage and before rescue the insurgents executed certain ones. The real purpose of the exercise was to see how we would react, respond, make decisions and who would exercise leadership in a highly stressed situation. I have to be clear – this was a very well done simulation and the emotions were real. This went beyond play-acting. The folk at MTI are extraordinarily skilled. They have moved us beyond cliché and opinion into emotion and transparency. Emotion and transparency are essential ingredients to community, especially on the mission field.
What then did it feel like? Firstly, I was at my age “expendable.” Secondly there was the confidence that as Jesus has gone before so can I, in faith, follow him. Jesus trusted the Father. Paul’s axiom “for me to live is Christ and to die is gain” makes sense because our faith is founded upon the resurrection. In other words, there was a calm sense of this–the simulation had become real. When I did not die – it was after all a simulation – my sense was one of God’s grace. I have another day to live.
What about Polly? Interestingly she also was executed. They had divided us into two groups. Her feelings were not dissimilar to mine. We have had a wonderful life.
Will we be put into this kind of situation as missionaries? Who knows! The point is that we can only live a day at a time. We cannot live simply with clichés and opinions. We have emotions that need to be expressed and, God willing, be redeemed. We are called to a transparency that is also a purifying, where that which is not of Christ may be taken to the cross and there abandoned. That transparency is the essential ingredient in true Christian community and fellowship. This is true on the mission field or in the local church.
I love this group of young and energetic, vibrant and dedicated young people. I am so looking forward to hearing their stories as God uses them in the years ahead. We have, all of us, another day to live. To live for Christ. How will we use it?