Monday, August 22, 2016

Why It's Worth It

Last month I was asked to write an article for the upcoming issue of The Call (a WGM publication) about the question, "Why is it worth it?"  I'd been piecing the article together in my mind for awhile but didn't get a chance to sit down and write it until today, the due date.  There's nothing like last-minute motivation!  It's just a short piece, but I wanted to share it here.  These have definitely been thoughts/issues we've been reflecting on regularly since arriving in Kenya nearly five months ago.

Why It's Worth It

            We’d been in Kenya just over two months when I uttered the words, “I want to go home.”  They were spoken not with a murmur or sigh, but with an emphatic sob.  After more than a decade of preparing for the mission field, it was jarring to feel such negative emotions after finally getting here.  But the transition to living overseas was harder than we expected.  The daily grind of learning the culture and adjusting to ministry and helping our three young boys adapt had taken its toll.
            The straw that broke the camel’s back was a missing dump truck – a missing toy dump truck.  Our son’s cherished toy was a small and seemingly insignificant thing, yet its disappearance tipped the scales and I found myself sobbing for the comfort of home.  It had “walked off” with another kid, meaning that a Kenyan playing in the sandbox with Kai had either mistakenly lost it or outright absconded with it, both of which were known to happen.  When Kai asked where his dump truck was, and when a thorough search produced no results, and when reality hit that I couldn’t run to Target and replace the construction machine that someone else lost, I broke down.  It was simply too much to handle.  Processing the value of material things, plus wrestling with the socially acceptable activity of walking off with someone else’s stuff, plus helping a 2-year old cope with the loss of a beloved toy, plus weighing the merits of justice vs honor/shame when face-to-face with the culprit…it was all too much to handle that day and I just wanted to go home.
            But rather than give up and actually go home, we are allowing God to use this time of transition and stress to refine us and strengthen us for the years ahead.  When Eli struggles with the death of yet another patient, God reminds him that He is faithful even in the midst of death.  When I realize I’ve made yet another cultural mistake, God reminds me that He is sovereign and can do His work despite my faux pas.  When our kids cling to timidity in this new culture, God reminds us that He is wise and has brought them here to grow in confidence.
            Living and ministering overseas is not easy, and it’s clearly not the easiest way to raise our children either.  But it’s the best thing we could be doing because it is God’s will for us.  Being in the center of God’s will is worth every stress, every lost dump truck, and every desire to go home.  He is worth it all, now and forever.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing. We are thinking about you guys often.