There I was, flying to a friend’s wedding, sobbing.
10 years earlier, I had recently graduated from college. I was single and had debt up to my eyeballs. A teaching job just wasn’t happening so I decided to move home near family. My sister was pregnant with her third child and I loved the idea of being close. That June, unexpectedly, the phone rang from a school in Kenya offering me my dream job. Panic hit. There is no way I can move to Africa on my own. I have to raise support. How will I pay my school loans? How could I miss the birth of my niece? I said no.
Two weeks later they called again. But my reasons remained. A month later they called again. This time I was boarding the plane to a friend’s wedding. I spent the flight making a list of pros and cons. The pros took a resounding lead. This is when the sobbing started. I was grieving a future I had already grown comfortable with and fearing a new one packed with unknowns. Then I remembered my dad’s advice, “Never miss an opportunity to say ‘yes’ to God.” So, I said yes.
That day was just the beginning of many tearful plane rides including the one I am on now as I write. I have one child asleep beside me and another on my lap. We just said goodbye to grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles again. An unplanned rendezvous in the US was one we’ll cherish but it never gets easier to leave. Each time the thousands of miles across the ocean, back to Indonesia now, are harder because we know what we are leaving. What we’re missing out on. What we’re sacrificing.
2016 was one of the most challenging years yet as I contracted Dengue Fever, Malaria, Zika, Typhoid fever, and an amoeba. But I also saw God at work in new ways, despite how frail and weak I was. He taught me that it isn’t about me, but it is about Him and the beauty He brings out of messy situations. I have seen the smiles of people hearing God’s truth for the first time in their language. I have seen the peace of parents holding their sick child, no longer fearing the evil spirits as they used to. I have seen the joy of people begging for God’s Word in their language and finally having people come to do the hard job.
The sacrifices have been great but the reward has been greater. Yesterday I hugged my sister, both of us sobbing, saying goodbye once again for who knows how long. “See you later” is bitterly difficult, but I now know that sting of pain is a prelude to the beauty God has coming.
It makes me think of Moses’ mother and how she was willing to risk the life of her whole family to save that sweet baby. Against every motherly instinct she had, she was willing to place her tiny boy in a basket and into a river. The sacrifice was great but she knew her God was greater. She chose to say “yes” to God and bring the beauty that came from Moses’ life.
When I moved to Kenya I fell in love with CHICKEN CURRY! Try this simple life-changing recipe. I made it for my family when we were all together over Christmas and even my nephews went back for 2nd helpings!
Oceans by Hillsong United always challenges and encourages my heart. “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders. Let me walk upon the waters WHEREVER you would call me.”
Loving Father teach us to trust You. To follow You. To make sacrifices for Your glory. To be brave. To say Yes!
As a wife, mom, teacher, missionary and friend life is full. I’ve been learning to take captive my thoughts (2 Cor. 10:5) . It is the amazing the time you will free up when you are not worrying about the “what if” and “if only”. Game changer! I learned a lot about this through the book Loving God with All Your Mind by Elizabeth George. Join me!