Can I be totally honest? [Are missionaries allowed to do that?]
This journey we're on--the beautiful, exciting one--it's terrifying sometimes.
Like that feeling in your heart when you get an unexpected phone call at 3am kind of terrifying. You don't know what's about to happen. You don't know what's around the corner or what your life will look like next year or next month or tomorrow for that matter.
And if I'm totally honest, it can be super overwhelming sometimes.
When I think of selling everything we own, it's overwhelming. Our home that we've lived in for almost 5 years will be gone. It's the home we have lived in since the day we were married and the home we've put a lot of sweat into fixing up. It's the home we brought home our sweet baby boy to and the home we've rocked him in and the home I hear his little feet running to our bedroom in the morning and the home where we've cooked dinners and watched movies together and laughed and cried. It's where we come after long periods of traveling to rest and recuperate.
It'll be gone.
Our bed, our dining room table, our living room furniture, Elliott's name painted on his bedroom wall by my mom, that rocking chair I rock him in every night, all those toys, the plates, the pictures on the walls.
It'll all be gone.
When we step onto that airplane on August 30th and wave goodbye to our families through no doubt lots of tears, our lives will never, ever be the same. We will have sold everything and our possessions will consist of little more than what we can fit into the suitcases we carry. Our families will no longer be just a 15 minute drive away. We will be homeless, car-less, and family-less.
And I'd be a liar if I said that wasn't scary. I've never walked that road.
"But you've been dreaming of this for years!" you say. "This is what you've been working towards and praying for!"
And you're right. And it's still 100% our dream and our desire. Don't get me wrong or misunderstand. We WANT this.
But it's still scary.
This time next year, Lord willing, we will be living in a village with a people I can't communicate with. I'll have a 6 month old and a 3 year old. I'll have to cook a new way, dress a new way, talk a new way, do laundry a new way, sleep a new way, live a new way. I won't have communication with my family and friends in the States. I won't have the foods I'm accustomed to. I won't have the culture I'm accustomed to. I will bathe myself and our children in rain water when it's available or in the river when it's not. We'll get sick. Chances are really good that we'll all get malaria at some point, probably more than once and maybe even at the same time. The heat is intense and the days can be long. We will be tested and tried by the locals to see if we are real. We have been warned that we will be harassed. Things will likely be stolen. Everyone will be watching us, waiting to see our reactions. We will be stared at because, let's be honest, we look a little different.
And all these things, they are overwhelming.
So I've asked myself, "Is this worth it? Do I really want this for me and my family?"
I think thess are good questions. Jesus tells us to "count the cost" in Luke 14.
25 Now great crowds were traveling with Him. So He turned and said to them: 26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, and even his own life—he cannot be My disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.
28 “For which of you, wanting to build a tower, doesn’t first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, after he has laid the foundation and cannot finish it, all the onlookers will begin to make fun of him, 30 saying, ‘This man started to build and wasn’t able to finish.’
31 “Or what king, going to war against another king, will not first sit down and decide if he is able with 10,000 to oppose the one who comes against him with 20,000? 32 If not, while the other is still far off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 In the same way, therefore, every one of you who does not say good-bye to all his possessions cannot be My disciple.
So I did. I counted the cost. And I searched my heart to see if this was genuine because I knew that if it wasn't I wouldn't make it.
In my mind I put all of our possessions and families and friends on one side of the scale. I thought of what we could have if we stayed here. Richard has enough aviation experience and connections that he could get a great job making 6 figures, easy. We could have a nice home and we could go on lots of mission trips and do lots of great things and support missionaries. I know a LOT of great Christians who God has given this path and they are a tremendous blessing to a lot of people, us included. God uses them just like missionaries in far away places. We could do that.
But on the other side I put the Cross that Jesus died on and I put the Indians that He died for. I put the calling that He has placed in our lives to specifically go. I put the open doors and all of our supporters and prayer warriors who patiently and persistently serve with us. I put our children who need us to follow the call on our lives so that they see we are genuine and this faith thing is real.
And it was no contest.
Because one day, when we stand before God, or rather when I stand before Him all alone, it won't matter if I did great things of my own will. It will matter that I followed His will.
So it's scary and overwhelming, but He's given me peace that He'll be there every step of the way (Hebrews 13.5).
I've already warned Richard that there will likely be a whole lot of tears in the beginning from this gal right here. It will be hard sometimes. But the truth is that we will make new friends. We will have a family there. We will learn their language and their culture and eventually I will cook like them and, while I'll never look like them, I can at least live like them.
And God will be glorified as we follow Him.
Thank you for your prayers and encouragement as we continue on this journey--the scary beautiful one.