“We can’t wait to go, but it’s so hard to leave”
A retired missionary said that to a new missionary, one about to leave for the field, at a training event. At the time it didn’t quite sink in, but it has been coming up in my mind a lot lately.
We have three weeks left, or 21 days exactly. It’s not like we’ll never see our family again. We live in the age of skype, voice over IP, e-mail, and even air travel. But we are going, far, to a new place. To a place where our parents can’t swing by for a visit, or take the grandbabies for a weekend. If someone gets moderately ill, they can’t bring us chicken noodle soup, or do much about it. I think it’s especially hard for both Chris and my mothers, as we are close with both of them. They are our people. They still take care of us. They listen, they love our kids, they lend us their cars, they love Jesus, and they pray for us. We are so very blessed to have them.The irony is, that if we didn’t have these Godly women to follow, this probably wouldn’t be our family’s career path. Their love of Jesus and their care for us, have been a foundation in our lives.
Along with our parents, we have sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews that are dear to our hearts. Our kids won’t see their cousins at Christmas for a few years, and that can be heartbreaking when you think about it. At four and half, it’s hard for Avonlea to really grasp that she’s leaving for a long time, but I know that day will come when she really really wants to come ‘home’ or go to Grandma’s house. I tell you, there will be crying, and It will probably be me. Because, the truth is, I know there will be days when I really want come home, too. I’ll want my mommy. I’ll miss her.
There are also lots of silly things I expect we’ll miss. Chik-fil-a, Target, Publix, Ice, these are the material joys of America. Au revoir, cold beverages and fried chicken, and bonjour, France.
And although our hearts our breaking, our eyes are tearing, and we’ve gained three pounds from all the chicken and Publix cookies we are trying to eat before we leave, we still can’t wait to go.
We can’t wait to go!
Bonjour, France! Nous sommes prêts. (J’espère.) (1)
We are excited, nervous, and full of anticipation. We are excited that our children will experience a new culture, that their worlds will start out much bigger, in a good way, because of this.
One of the beauties of this tedious process of support raising (2) is that it’s not quick. (Wait, that’s an upside?) Yes, it is slow. It makes you dependent on faith, and as we see the end of the road, we can feel this readiness. It’s surreal, but peaceful. Even in the midst of our chaotic life, I can google our street address and get a beautiful areal view of the little house where we will be living, and it makes me smile. Because, there’s this place, this absolutely beautiful country, with mountains, and vineyards, and cheeses and bread, and architecture and artwork, that doesn’t know about Jesus. For all this beauty, there is darkness, there is hopelessness, and there is emptiness. For the Christians that are there, there is loneliness. I’m not sure how God will use us, or that there will be a revival in our lifetime, but we can go, and we can pray for one. For in whatever way he uses us, we are privileged to serve.
Along the way, there would be these times when we would be run down, tired from the support raising, and the Lord would put in our path people that would remind us of this call. He would renew our spirits. Sometimes, it was in presenting at a missions conference, sometimes it would be a former missionary, or a visit with our team leader in the states. Our hearts would fill up, and we would start going again. We know that he will continue to sustain us as we begin our life on the field.
But we have to say Goodbye, and that is hard, and that is happening now. First Florida, to spend time with my family, then back to North Carolina for Chris’s. Please pray for this time. That we would enjoy it, savor it, and love our people well. The world is small, but God’s love is big, it stretches over oceans and continents, and we love because he first loved us. We ride on the wake of that love, as we say goodbye, for now.
By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4:13-19
(1) Hello France! We are ready. (I hope)
(2) If you are support raising, and it hasn’t been at least a little tedious and time consuming, I contest that you are doing it wrong and should start over. Clearly.