Summary: A missionary suffering from burn-out is on the verge of leaving the city where she has been called. Keywords: Mission, burnout, depression, loneliness.
Style:  Dramatic.  Duration:  8min
Actors: 1F, 1M Script
(We are late at night in a missions office. S has been sitting there, apparently lost in thought for some time. She flips through the pages of a book idly, looks around at the walls of calendars and schedules. At long last she begins to start to tear up and then cry. P comes by the room with a couple of cleaning supplies. He is making his last rounds when he stops and notices her.)
P: (Very gently) I see you are working late tonight, Teacher Schmidt.
S: (snaps out of it and tries to recover herself) Ohhh, just trying to finish some reading for the sermon tomorrow.
P: Ahhh…
S: I was a little behind in my research of the sermon topic.
P: And that means you must make the books wet from your…eye sweat?
S: Oh. (beat) You did see me crying. (beat) Are you always so observant?
P: I have learned from you westerners to be more (smiles) direct.
S: One of the hardest things for me to learn to accept about your culture.
P: It has not been an easy lesson for me to learn.
S: I can imagine.
P: But I will not be so direct as to ask you why you are crying. (smiles)
S: You don’t want to know.
P: Wanting to know such things would be (again the smile) bad manners.
S: (Beat) I am tired. Dead tired. I feel as if the whole world is upon my shoulders. There’s too much to do.
P: That must be very hard to carry the world on one’s shoulders…alone.
S: I have a meeting with the 2 pastors in this city 2 times a week, days for teaching at the school, nights for witnessing at the markets, preaching times (indicates the work), and always the cartloads of paperwork to do.
P: You have been very faithful to the Lord with your work.
S: And I’m the only missioner from our organization in this city!
P: For the last 2 years, I believe.
S: Tracy was here, but she got burned out and had to go home on indefinite leave.
P: You have been very faithful to my people, Teacher Schmidt.
S: (continuing) So somebody has to do the work. No one who has joined the mission wants to come to this country, let alone to this city.
P: The people are set in their ways.
S: But every day I walk the streets and see hundreds of people. Hundreds of them walking who don’t have a clue about Jesus. I have tried to show His love, but I feel like they slip through my fingers like sand.
P: Do you remember the game nights every month last year?
S: Yes. (beat, recalls the times with a slow smile) They took a lot of planning. But we had so much fun.
P: And the people learned about meaning of life while playing them. It helped me too.
S: (looks straight at P) Mr. Ping, I forgot how you came to the Lord.
P: I have not. Will never forget.
S: It was 10 years ago, wasn’t it?
P: 15 years and 3 days ago. A missionary came and showed me God’s love.
S: What did he do?
P: I was sick with cancer. He did not know me, but still he came to my home. I don’t know how he found me. I was so ashamed because my home was too poor for him to come. And besides, he was a westerner and I was sure he would not understand who I was. He told me about this Jesus and how he could redeem me from my sin and pain. He put his hands on me, I was so ashamed for him to do this, and prayed to his God. Immediately I felt the cancer leave my body. (beat) Only later did I find out that a friend of mine who also became a Christian told this missionary about me.
S: What did your family say?
P: They said I could no longer be their son. (beat) The price was high for me to be a Christian. But I prayed every day for them. Then, a few years ago, they too became Christians. They said they saw the change in me and wanted what I had. The Lord used them to bring their neighbors to Him. But they have little training. They don’t know how to disciple people. (Looks at her) You have helped them so much.
S: (touched) I meet so many people I sometimes forget the details about their lives.
P: When one is overburdened, it is easy not to see the fruit of the Lord’s work.
S: But your family are a few people. I talk with many groups, but they are always so small. I feel like we are pockets of scattered bird seed, tossed about without any organization.
P: But some seed must fall on good soil.
S: (thinks) Yes. But I am alone. (P looks at her) Well, yes Mr. Ping, you are also here now, (he smiles) but you are a family man with a job at your store.
P: I try to help where I can.
S: And you have. You have helped me so much more than you know when I feel down. I have not told you that before and I’m sorry about that. But I have no other full-time missionary here to share the burden.
P: Then we must pray, sister Schmidt. Missionaries have shown us God’s love, and some of the new believers here have started to share the Gospel powerfully because of them.
S: But there’s so many more who don’t know or won’t believe. I am too small a boat to rescue them.
P: Then God will give you the bigger boat. Let us pray for more workers to come. It is He that does the calling.
S: You’re right. I’ve stressed out about my work too much and I haven’t depended on the Lord’s provision in this area.
P: I have noticed you for awhile feeling burdened. It has been something I have wanted to talk to you about for some time.
S: You have? (he smiles humbly) Well, God’s timing is good. (she laughs) Actually, I was thinking about asking for a transfer from this city. I felt so stressed and couldn’t see the results of my work. (deep sigh of relief) I feel suddenly much more relaxed. Let’s get to praying!
P: Now that is a good reason to work late. (And they begin to pray)               
© Copyright David Jansen 2007, all rights reserved. The script may not be reproduced, translated or copied in any medium, including books, CDs and on the Internet, without written permission of the author.
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