This is part 5 in our interview with Gillian Newham, the author of Far from Cold. What question would you like to pose for Gillian?
Q: What has been the biggest challenge you have faced as a missionary – and as a writer?
I think always, certainly as a missionary and as a person, as a Christian, is the biggest challenge is always myself, because whatever situation you find yourself in, whatever outward pressures are around you, it’s always the reaction of my own heart that is the most telling.
So if you are working in a difficult situation, if you are working with people you find difficult to get on with, then the difficulty, the real issue isn’t with them, the real issue is with me and what my reactions and my heart is, so I think always, you know, being a missionary, coming out of your own comfort zone, living in a different situation with people who are challenging, with things that you don’t like that are different to the things in England.
Then what happens is, it’s my reactions, you know, and you see those reactions and you know, and they’re ungodly, and they’re selfish, and they’re frustrated and they’re angry, and you see those things and you’re just like, oh yuck, that’s disgusting, that’s inside of me, and I think that is always, always the most difficult thing, the most challenging thing, is what I am, because my circumstances, the pressures that come show what’s inside me.
And you realize, certainly in front of the Lord, that oh my goodness, I am a nobody, I am nothing, and I understand how Paul said, you know, towards the end of his life when he was writing to Timothy, he said, ‘Jesus Christ died for sinners, of whom I am the chief’ and I thought, I understand that, because the more you see what’s inside of you, the more you realize, that is absolutely the most challenging thing that I have to live with.
I think, overcoming my personal difficulties which I often think are impossible, which is why my lovely husband is such an encouragement, overcoming those things is hard, as a writer, you know, overcoming the obstacles that I think that are impossible, i.e. for me which is dyslexia, thinking how can I possibly write anything, have I got anything to say, I haven’t even got English GCSE, what am I doing writing, I’m not qualified….those things are the things that, you know, are hard to deal with – although, hey, I’ve got a book published now, so that’s a little bit easier. But, yes, overcoming my own difficulties, always, is my problem.