Over the last few months I have written about how the journey of moving back to the states after eight years of being on a foreign field. So this one is for the people that are just starting the journey…
Prepare yourself… this is a longer blog!
It is a great privilege to work for an organization that sends people. It is an honor to help people start the journey and watch people go!
A couple weeks ago I was talking with someone who is in the process of going. Going to the nations. Someone who said, “Here I am Lord, send me!” This person was excited, nervous, scared to death, ready, not ready, sad, happy… all the feels. This person was experiencing the highs and lows of support raising. The anticipation of the good byes and the overwhelmingness of the idea of learning a new culture and language. And I understand. I have been there.
If you are a go-er… let me give you a little pep talk. If you are a sender, this might help you love your people.
How about looking at what life overseas actually could look like……….
Sure, there is a lot of exciting adventures…. but also sometimes those adventures aren’t that exciting.. or at least not in the “that was fun, lets do it again” sense.
– You might have times where you take a cheap bus to the beach and get to go on vacation to a place that people pay thousands for less than 100! But then, how about the times you are stuck in your car not moving for hours because of a protest a few miles up.
– You get excited to explore a new part of the city or a new town and usually it ends up being so great… eating new food, seeing new things, experiencing the culture. But, what about the time when you accidentally go down a road and realize that you shouldn’t be there, with the terror that hits you that you could be danger.
– You will get to learn fun new things like how to shop at a market or butcher in the new language and feel like you can accomplish the world. But then sometimes you aren’t sure what you are eating or you get home with an animal part you didn’t think you were buying.
– You will learn a language and think “I got this!” but sometimes you will completely mess up everything you say… or even better…. say something that was so wrong you left a whole room laughing at you.
– You will meet some of the most amazing people you have ever met. They have a faith unlike you have ever experienced. But, you will also come across corrupt police who want bribes.
– You will see the most amazing areas, sometimes that people only dream about seeing. But, you will also see heartbreaking poverty that will forever change your views on things.
– You will witness the most beautiful things with people and experience humanity at its worst.
– There will be days when you feel like you can do it all, you are bold and want to share the Gospel with everyone… and days when it takes you all day to pay your rent.
– You will have amazing accomplishments starting ministries and just watch God work. And sometimes you think you will have a great idea to reach the community that will turn out to be a total flop.
– There will be times when you realize that your life in another country is totally worth it. And other times…. you would give ANYTHING to go back home.
– You get to be apart of the first christian wedding or event in a town …. but you also miss the births of your friends babies and major moments back home.
– You watch God work in the hearts of people and they eventually come to the saving faith…. but also you watch people turn their back on truth or even if you’re friends with someone for years they never surrender their life.
………………………………Oh, the stories………………………………………………
But, for those of you going… who are feeling all the feels of moving to another country. Do you remember the first time you went overseas? Do you remember that fire? Do you remember that way you felt when our Father tugged at your heart to serve in another country?
Go back to those memories, to the beginning. Back to the big eyed girl (or boy) who believed she could change the world.
You are still that person! (I need reminded of that sometimes too)
You are changing the world when taking care of your family.
You are changing the world when you brave a team meeting as a single girl.
You are changing the world when you drive in a foreign country.
You are changing the world by raising support.
You are changing the world by following Gods calling to go.
You are changing the world by being who God has made you to be.
You are doing it!
God is going to do big and mighty things through you or because of you as you serve overseas. But He will also do five million small things in and through you.
Embrace the small things and rejoice Him in that. Stand in wonder and awe at the big things.
And when you are in the middle of things, wondering if anything will ever work out. Or when you think things will “fail”. Or when you are just in the thick of everything…. Breathe.
In the good… in the bad… in the hard… in the excitement…. God is going to be making you more like Him and that is the most important mission any of us will ever be on.
If you are just starting on that journey. Hold on tight. But, GO! Throw yourself into the language. Eat all the weird street food. Fall in love with the people and the culture. Make yourself at home.
If you have been on this journey for a bit… GO! Continue to greet what God has in front of you with the confidence that He cares deeply for you and everyone else in the village where you live.
And if you love people on this journey…. GO! Encourage them, its not easy! Listen to their stories and pray for them. Love them for where they are and what they have gone through. Visit them in their foreign field to encourage them (if they aren’t on the field yet…. plan on visiting them!)