My plan was to travel to an East Asian country later this month to see the start of a mission project. One small, overlooked detail cancelled the trip.
The country where were we were headed “is the most bombed country in the world per capita with more than 270 million cluster submunitions dropped on it during the Vietnam War from 1963 to 1974..”
An estimated 80 million of the cluster submunitions—or ‘bombies’, as they’re known in country – that were dropped on the country during the Vietnam War failed to detonate, remaining ‘live’ in the ground.
Here is a short video to show what this kind of bombing looked like. No need to turn up the sound unless you know this east asian language.
Yep. Just a small detail. Needless to say, our project is on hold until a munitions company clears the unexploded bombs.
I admit i struggle with finding anything good about this situation. Both past and present.
However…God has taught me that He uses the actions of governments, whether deemed bad, neutral or good, to carry out His purposes.
Here are two examples from opposite sides of the world.
In both examples, either a Communist government or military dictatorship created easier access to Unreached People Groups (UPGs).
About 12 years ago, my wife and I spent some time in the mountains of Guatemala. We flew into Guatemala City. The next day we rode 8-10 hours on a school bus up hairpin turns into the mountains to spend a week in an Indian village.
A nearly 40 year civil war between the various government forces and the countries indigenous people ravaged this Central American country.
The missionaries we worked with shared with us that the trip would have been much longer except for the roads that the government armies built during the civil war. The army wanted better access to the same people groups that the missionaries wanted to reach—but for much different reasons of course.
What the enemy meant for destruction God uses for His purpose.
Good friends of ours have lived for about seven years in this East Asian country. Their purpose is also to reach the indigenous UPGs that live in this region.
When they first moved there, locating and traveling to the thousands of villages provided a challenge. However over the past 4-5 years the communist government began building roads and high-speed transit because of a focus to create a tourist destination.
Our missionary friends can now travel from one end of this province to the other in a fraction of the time it took just a few years ago. They also can reach many more villages because of the new roads being built.
What a government meant for its profit God uses for His purposes.
So back to the mission project that my friend and I are a part of—I don’t see yet God’s purpose in this delay and the overall challenge of unexploded munitions buried all over this country. But I trust that He has a purpose and a plan to use this for His glory.
I am learning to trust Him and His timing. Often I attempt to force things to happen according to my wisdom and understanding instead of pressing into Him.
One thing that I have learned over the years of mission work is this truth—God was at work in a locale and a people group long before I became aware of it, He is at work even as we speak, and He will continue to pursue His purpose long after I am gone.
What I need to do is learn how to discern what He is doing, jump into that stream and join Him.
So, God, show us what You are doing in this country, with this project, and with this people so that we can join you in Your purpose for Your glory.