There we were, sitting and praying over our new guest house. As I looked around, I could hardly believe my eyes. Just a few weeks ago this place looked more like a lumber yard and workshop than a house. Sawdust covered the surfaces of almost every room you walked into. I just knew that the group coming down would be sleeping on the floor, but here we were. The beds are finished and look great. The other furniture is in the house. There are even decorations on the wall. And the best part, NO SAWDUST!!! I realized as we were praying how blessed I was.
So many times, as a missionary, you feel alone. You feel overwhelmed. You feel like everything is impossible. When I left “home” over 18 years ago, I grabbed ahold of a promise in God’s word.
Mark 10:29-30” 29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.” ‘
Oh yes, there have been times that I have seen and felt that persecution, but it is surpassed by the hundred fold promise of community! As we prayed, dedicating the new phase in our ministry, I had to admit it never would have happened if it hadn’t been for our amazing community of friends, which included both nationals and other missionaries. We weren’t doing this alone. When we were overwhelmed, the community around us stepped in and expressed their love towards us in so many ways. Some prayed with us. Others picked up power tools and stood beside my husband and worked on bunk beds. It was an amazing experience seeing community come together.
So many times when we talk with people from our sending country, they ask me, “what is it you miss living in another country?” I always answer the same, family and friends. Most expect a different answer. They expect to hear of those favorite foods we can no longer get readily or something else along that line, but after a while those “things” and “conveniences” you miss, fade. You adapt and learn to live content where you are, but family and friends, those relationships are different.
People are not like things. You cannot just replace them. You miss the relationships, but God in His amazing grace and wisdom prepared for that. He has people where you are that He will send your way that will help fill those vacancies. They will not replace those you left behind, but they will come into your life and bring new joy and they will encourage you. You will find yourself doubly blessed, because you have family and friends in two countries. One day, you will be there, sitting in a room, praying or just visiting and you will realize your family has grown
Maybe you are reading this and thinking, but I didn’t leave to go to another country. Maybe you still live next door to your family and friends. What an amazing blessing that is. If you are fortunate to have that blessing, please DO NOT take it for granted. Love on those that are close to you. At the same time, there is more family waiting on you as well. The family of God is ONE HUGE family, and around the corner from you, that person that just moved into that cute little 3 bedroom house. They may have left their family behind. They may be feeling quite alone right now. Or maybe it is that new family at church that just started showing up. Or maybe even the lady waiting your table tonight at the restaurant. I can pretty much guarantee that if you listen to your heavenly Father and let His Spirit guide you that somewhere along your path, there is someone looking for you to be the fulfillment of those verses in Mark 10 in their lives. Big families are God’s plan and Jesus’ blood makes us all one amazingly big family!