David and Radka Fiala, who taught English for three years in Slovakia and are beginning new terms of service as career missionaries in Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland, say they were surprised to learn that being an overseas missionary “means living your life of faith, just as you would be in any other profession.”
People they met and worked with in Slovakia didn’t think of the couple as missionaries, even though “that is who we are,” said Radka. “People see us as people, and they see how we live our lives, what we do, how we treat others, what we bring to the table when there are conflicts, how we support those around us, how sensitive we are to the needs of others, and so on.
“It’s our way of life — it’s not just an assignment for a certain period of time.”
Here are a few more of the Fialas’ “lessons from the field,” which may be just as valuable for stateside Lutherans:
- Rather than reading about Christianity, people are more interested in seeing “how the fact that we believe in the risen Savior makes us any different from others,” said Radka. “They want to see tangible, practical, and real examples of faith in different life situations.”
- And, says Radka, “students were more likely to join us in real acts of service — visits to an orphanage, for example — than for a meeting on how to be a good servant.”
- “God uses His people, His resources, in ways that are beyond what we can see,” she added. Sure, it’s wonderful to witness a baptism, but some joys on the mission field “come more disguised, and sometimes we may even miss them if we are always looking for something great to happen.”
Posted July 10, 2008