Lord,” Jojo began, “we thank you so much for sending Ron and Linda to us …

While the bamboo trees creaked like doors on rusty hinges, nineteen Filipinos and three foreigners sat around a large open shed, praying. Tonight we were concentrating on one another’s needs. “… for their careful Bible teaching. Their beautiful personal lives. Their warm home. Their enthusiasm and energy in serving you.” Ron and Linda and I were the only foreigners on the staff. “And now, Lord,” Jojo continued, “we beg you to deliver them from tensions …”

I was a little surprised. Tension? In their capable, efficient ministry? Well, yes, I suppose I had seen them tense, when they were weak from hepatitis, tired of wading around dead rats floating through the flooded market, charged full of adrenalin for a dozen meetings crammed into the week ahead and then let down when people forgot to show up for a crucial planning session. Yes, maybe they could relax a little more.

A gecko swiveled down the roofbeam. The prayers murmured on. Then I heard Arturo praying for me.

“… and, our Father, we ask you to deliver her from tension …”

Tension—again! What was this all about? Were we foreigners so much more tense than everybody else?

As a matter of fact—yes. We liked efficiency. So sometimes we got uptight about lagging schedules, while the Filipinos adjusted calmly to a land where natural or political typhoons could demolish any system. As a result, peace characterized pagan Filipinos more than it did many of us missionaries.

This was rather discouraging. Hadn’t we been sent out to teach them a better life? And now we were discovering that here the recipients of our generosity were superior to us. People on the mission field were in some ways more Christ-like than the ...

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