Friday, October 11, 2013

On mission

So often I have wished God would call me to Africa.  When we brought our daughter home from Ethiopia I just knew I would be making yearly trips back to that beautiful country.  I just knew my future had been changed and that I would be at least a part-time missionary, going to love and serve the "least of these."

It has been three years since my feet left U.S. soil.

Attachment has demanded I stay right here, never more than a phone call away.  Her security has depended on her ability to know I can be home within hours, that a shotty internet connection would not keep her from hearing my voice from days on end.

So for a while I struggled.

For a while I watched my fellow adoptive moms travel back and forth with ease.  I fought the green-eyed monster as I wished it was me on that plane, me in that orphanage, me serving the soup to the hungry.  I struggled with what I was supposed to do with what I learned in Ethiopia.  What do I do with the knowledge of poverty and suffering that is forever embedded in my memory?  Where do I tuck the raw pain I felt when a dozen brown arms encircled my neck and begged me for kisses and hugs?  How does the desire to alleviate suffering play out in my life, in this city, in this neighborhood?  For until my youngest is old enough to handle the rigors and emotions of a mission trip I must stay here.  Either we all go together or we don't go at all.

The Lord is so faithful.

He opened my eyes to the local ministry which I have mentioned before, a ministry to the homeless, the destitute stuck in seedy motels, and to victims of human trafficking.  He showed me that there is a huge mission field right here and that He has gifted me to not only serve when I can spare a late night away from the kids and my sweet husband, but to be an encouragement and prayer support for those who are on the front lines every single day (and night).  Often my friend who leads this ministry comes to mind and I am burdened to pray.  Often I just want to be around her, to be a friend and fellow adoptive mom who understands and wants to help shoulder the burden of this huge responsibility she has taken on by lifting her family up in prayer and encouraging her as she fights against the powers of darkness.

He showed me that we can be a help to His people, His servants who have been called to "GO" and spread the gospel around the world and we can support them, we can give them a place of respite and love while they rest from their lives on the mission field or prepare to go and leave this country for the glory of God.  He showed me that I am sent right here, right now.

In the past year and a half since we built the apartment above our garage God has brought people into our lives that have made our world bigger, missionaries from South Africa, a young woman from Malaysia, and most recently a family going to Belgium.  We have been blessed with friends that we would have otherwise never met.  Our kids have friends all over the world and the internet makes keeping in touch so easy and fun! We wept last Sunday as our friends who are moving to Belgium packed up their things from our garage apartment and said the long-dreaded goodbyes.  They have lived here for six wonderful months and we had gotten used to their presence in a very sweet way.  It is awfully quiet around here without their three blond-headed cuties peeking in my back door, looking for a playmate.  They became dear friends and their kids are sorely missed by ours.  These soul-ties were forged on the foundation of Jesus Christ and that is because God blessed us with the gift of being on mission here, in our home.  It may not be glorious or glamorous, but I am so grateful for the gift because we get to glimpse His heart for the people of the entire world.  Jesus is coming soon, (hallelujah!) and God is sending out warriors right and left.  If I am not called to sell everything and become a missionary in another country, then I am called to equip those who do.
Tomorrow a new family moves into our apartment.  They will be here for a few months and then they will move to Ireland.  Ireland!  (Oh come ON, Lord!  You know I would totally move to Ireland for you, right? Green, lush hills, rocky cliffs, beautiful accents...but I digress.)  I am excited to get to know this new family and their kids.  It will be such a great learning experience for us as we hear about God's call on their lives and what life in Ireland will look like for them.  And I'm sure friendships will be forged between us and our children.  It is bittersweet, growing to love a family that you know is only here for a short time.  But it also makes the promise of Heaven that much sweeter.

I will confess that I still look at the photos of my friends traveling to Africa on Facebook and wish I was there.  I can almost smell the coffee in Addis and hear the sounds of the children running to touch my skin and play with my hair.  I can imagine the feeling of my heart bursting as I whisper "Jesus loves you" into a filthy little afro.  But the longing is different now.  It is a knowing that the time will come eventually, but I am right where I am supposed to be in this season of my life.  If the Lord tarries, I have no doubt my family will set foot on African soil once again, but until then I am thankful that He has allowed me to see the mission field in my own back yard.

1 comment:

  1. Definitely makes me want to put an apartment above our garage too. How wonderful that you guys have been able to minister and love those being dispersed.


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