The pilot folded his hands and looked at us across the table. His eyes brightened and a smile crept across his face. “This week I get to fly Bibles. First Scripture ever in these people’s language.”

Our grins matched his.

My family and I were in the capital for our quarterly rest time, and we were taking advantage of this opportunity to catch up with the pilot and his family. He works for a mission aviation organization that transports workers like us from Pioneer Bible Translators and other organizations. They also transport local pastors, and they deliver cargo and fresh produce for workers in remote locations. On a typical flying day this pilot and his colleagues leave home early in the morning, fly to five different locations, and return to their families after dinner time.

“I fly a lot of people and cargo to these remote locations,” he told us. “But flying Scripture is my favorite. There’s nothing else like it. I try to schedule enough time on the ground so I can see some of the celebration as these Scriptures are received in the churches, but sometimes I just have to drop them off and get back home.”


I see similarities between the pilot’s life and my own. Most of my days, like his, feel like long marathons of tedious work. I know (theoretically) that the tasks of my daily life support something bigger and play a part in the Kingdom of God, but it’s a rare occasion when I get to see it with my very own eyes.

I think of the things that make me feel most alive here: witnessing local artists sing and dance their stories; pounding fresh-roasted coffee beans to make coffee for the flock of women gathered at the house of my friend; writing down new words in a tiny notebook as everyone laughs at the foreigner who wants to learn their language — a language disdainfully labeled “bird chatter” by the dominant group. And sometimes I wish these things had a much bigger place in my life than they currently do.

But for now it’s back to hand-washing cloth diapers, pinning those same diapers around my baby’s bum, cooking for my family, endless dialogues with my four-year-old about every manner of thing, and traipsing around the dusty market stalls to search out the ever-elusive vegetables or — if it’s a great day — the prize watermelon. My life right now revolves around caring for my children, supporting my husband as he does Bible translation, and keeping the household running. And some days I’m like, “Wait! … Is this what I signed up for?

Let me do whatever “small things” God puts in my path.

This is Just a Season.

And in the quiet moments carved out for my soul to emerge from the doing, take a deep breath, and settle into just being, the Lord says to me: “You are doing the right thing. This is a season. Don’t resist it and don’t rush on to the next season. Find Me in this one.” The words of Mother Teresa come back to me from the biography I just read: I want to “do small things with great love.” Whatever those small things are that God puts in my path today, let me do them.

On one particular day in the village, my small task at hand is to take a box of empty tin cans to the patriarchs of two households so the children can craft them into toy automobiles. The two old men sit, heads bent together, focused on a book in their hands. One man traces his finger slowly across the page, sounding out the words.

I feel like I’m standing on holy ground as I watch these men reading Scripture in their own language.

The other man helps him through the difficult parts, a gentle smile on his face. At the end of each sentence, they nod in satisfaction. They haven’t yet noticed my presence. My words of greeting have faded away as I just stand, listening to the sound of these men reading Scripture. Their Scriptures, in their very own language. And suddenly it feels like I am standing on holy ground.

On days like these the words of the pilot return: “Flying Scripture is my favorite. There’s nothing like it.” My heart warms anew, and I think, It’s true. There is nothing else like the work we get to be part of.

Miriam Lake
Miriam Lake is an ethnoarts specialist, the mother to three young children, and the wife of a Bible translation specialist. She loves dancing, sharing cups of hot tea, and learning about the artistry of minority people groups. She and her family make their home in Africa.
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