What is success?

Last week in our staff meeting we began to discuss what types of things would be markers of success for our year here. Obviously our ultimate goal is to launch a spiritual movement on the university campus here in Montevideo. We desire to raise up Uruguayan students who will follow Christ and who will take hold of this ministry so it can be self sustaining, so Cru won’t need to send anymore teams from the States. So if we don’t do that, are we unsuccessful? What about personally? What at the end of the year would define our personal success in this country? As we went around the room ad began throwing out ideas, some said to have deep relationships with Uruguayan students, to walk with the Lord closely, to have a lot of personal growth, to learn Spanish, to do everything at 100%, to have a Christian on each faculty here… and the list goes on…

Then Caleb (one of our wonderful ICS leaders) pointed us to Isaiah 6. So often in conferences and talks about missions we hear Isaiah 6:8 “And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then I said, Here am I! Send me.”

Each of us has heard this verse a number of times. For most of us it even has a part in our story of why we came to Uruguay, but how often do we look beyond verse 8? Caleb began to explain the mission that Isaiah was saying yes to… God told Isaiah that he was going to people who would never listen, who would never understand. In the end not one person would believe Isaiah or come to know God. Actually, they will be calloused to the Gospel and turn away from the Lord even more. So in our worldly view of missions was Isaiah successful?

I was talking with my boyfriend, Phil, this summer after a support appointment about this very topic. He gracefully pointed out that my measure of success can’t be based on what is important to me, but more so what is most important to God. We can’t measure it in the number of people who trust Christ, or how long we stay doing missions, or who we meet, or how many friends we make… He asked me, “Do you think God called you to Uruguay? Then by going you are already successful. You don’t know what He has planned for this year”. This is exactly what Caleb reminded us of last week, too. Success is living with integrity and pursuing righteousness that comes only from Christ. Success is faithfulness and obedience to Christ, our Lord and Savior. He encouraged us that we have been obedient to Christ to even be here in Uruguay in the first place. Now, we must continue to be sensitive to His Spirit leading our lives and we will have a perfectly successful time here!

John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

I am so thankful for people here who will remind me daily of the vision and encourage me to walk closely with Jesus and to rely only on Him!

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