Visiting a third-world county for an American is not an easy thing. We have become accustomed to a certain level of comfort and having essential items readily available. Vietnam is no different and it is one of the hardest places to live for a foreigner because it does not have available most of the essentials Americans rely upon. I am fully aware of this and it causes so much difficulty within me. In addition to missing certain “luxuries” that are lacking in Vietnam, it often seems things are handled in this country in a way completely opposite of the way they would be handled in the US. It is hard not to try to impose the way we are used to getting things done when in a foreign country but as visitors, we have to respect they ways things work in the country we are in. At times I have caught myself mumbling and complaining about how different and even how difficult it was instead of being thankful.
While we were on the plane on our way to Vietnam, the Lord spoke to me through His word:
In the verses following verse 6, Paul describes this attitude. He writes, “Don’t think highly of yourself but serve, walk in obedience, don’t grumble or complain, and hold out to the Word of Life.” (Vrs. 6-13) The one that penetrated my heart like a razor was the one about not complaining or grumbling. Think for a moment about the life and work of Jesus. He left Heaven where He was worshiped and adored, to come to earth where He was rejected and was murdered and yet He uttered not one complaint nor one moment of grumbling.
This was surely a prophetic word from God concerning what I would need for this trip. I began to see how important it was going to be for me to have God’s attitude within me in every situation if I was to be truly successful in carrying out God’s work in Vietnam. I would face some serious tough situations concerning travel, food, sickness, heat, living conditions, and not understanding the language. However every time grumbling or a complaint would emerge from my heart toward my mouth I would remember what the Lord had told me. “Have this attitude in you that was also in Christ Jesus.”