by Beth Johnson
Many times I have been asked why we chose to live and work in India. People ask, “How do you stand the filth, the idolatry, the tropical climate, and the primitive living arrangements?”
If I were to tell them just how primitive things really are here, I might tell them how I washed our family’s clothes in a bucket by hand, and that daily washing ritual included diapers for two babies a year apart. Or I might tell them that during the years when our family numbered six members, my “cookstove” was a one-burner kerosene hot plate, and there was no oven. I could even tell them that we had no proper brooms or mops, but had to use clumps of grass for sweeping and a rag to mop our cement floors every day.
I could tell them that floors had to be mopped daily because dust from feet tracked in the dried feces where people relieved themselves out in the open day in and day out. They never considered covering their dirt like the OT law taught the Israelites to do in Deuteronomy 23:13.
I could tell them about the diseases our family has endured: typhoid fever, pneumonia, tuberculosis, amoebic dysentery, bacillary dysentery, food poisoning (over and over again), and cholera. Most people have never endured these diseases at all, much less more than one at a time.
I could talk about lack of decent water for bathing or washing clothes or electricity cuts or unfair taxation. I could tell about land grabbers who have tried to wrest property owned by the church. I could tell about having to pasteurize our own milk or boil our own drinking water on a daily basis.
I could tell them about the times when our postal delivery person sold our mailing addresses and even our actual mail to charlatans who wanted to make contacts in the US. I might tell about the times we were “reported to the government” for doing mission work, or about the times we have actually been evicted from the country because we did not give some “undesirable” a job.
Some would disdainfully say, “Why, I wouldn’t do that for all the money in the world!”
Neither would I.
“And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you. Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible” (1 Corinthians 9:23-25).
“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets” (Matthew 7:12).
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 22:37-39).
Fortunately we have passed through those early gray days and perhaps become wiser for our experiences. We have somewhat better facilities now than we had several years ago and better supplies and amenities. Roads have become safer and water is now available in most shops.
More of our good people at home are aware of our needs and have been most gracious to help as they could.
God not only blesses those who are sent, but he also blesses the ones who do the sending.
May God bless you as you serve him wherever you are.
Beth and her husband Dennis have worked many years for the Lord in India.
A missionary sacrifices because he lives for the gospel.