There are certain moments in life that are defining. They mold us and delineate the very trajectory of our lives. We talk in coded understanding, in a before and after sense of time. Inevitably, these moments, regardless of their size, become the milestones we continually gaze upon. We know where we were in the precise moments in time when these cataclysmic events occurred. These moments-turned-milestones beckon us to remember.
It’s been exactly five years since my family and I received THE phone call that would undoubtedly change everything about life as we knew it. A process that was decades in the making culminated in a two minute conversation. All the months of meetings, all the mountains of signed paperwork, all the whispered prayers from a resolute heart, these things became reality the day our sending agency announced our long-term approval to live and love in Southern Asia.
Obviously, there were many things I knew in that instant. I knew that I felt ready; I knew that I sensed God’s heart for redemption to take root and scatter throughout Southern Asia like the monsoon rains that would eventually beat down. I knew that I believed God would be the same faithful Companion, whether I remained here or moved there. I knew that I needed to ask for the prayers and constant support of so many dear friends and family.
There were also many things I did not know, could not know, in that time stamped with sacred purpose. From simple things like shopping for groceries and crossing the street to fathomless things like raising my kids and walking in flint-faced obedience, every facet of daily life would become infused with an intensity difficult to define. Truth be told, I had no idea how this one phone call would change my life.
Looking back on every day since that proverbial phone call, I have experienced more joy, adventurous thrills, soul-satisfying fulfillment, deeper clarity, and living-life-on-purpose courage than I ever could have dreamed. I have also faced loss, defeat, failure, discouragement, and illness that I didn’t see coming from around the bend. I have learned to surf on waves of love and ambivalence, caught in the fray marked by faith and fear. I have had to dance on streets overflowing with sewage and a pointed measure of opulence as host and home cultures have collided with my sense of belonging.
This I now know: I will pray harder, work smarter, love stronger, cry longer, and ache deeper than I ever could have imagined. This is the stuff of a life laid down overseas. I will commit again every day to keep going, to keep staying, to keep believing for Eternal Change to walk into the crowded rooms of Southern Asia.
On April 7, 2010, Mel and I were given the green light to pursue our life-long dream of being harvesters in a place where seeds still desperately need to be sown. An extreme religion, an extreme population, an extreme climate…these all describe the conditions of the dry and parched land our feet plod upon day after day. Yet these challenges do not define our work when our faith in God defies what others say is possible. Our sending agency once asked me why I would want to go to Southern Asia. I could only think of one reply: “why not?”
Thank you for walking with us through five years of sowing, reaping, and keeping our hands to the plow. We needed you then, and we need you now.