As we prepare to turn the corner on this furlough year and begin a new chapter of ministry in Iquique, I find myself drawn to reading biographies of modern missionary women. It encourages my heart to witness God's unique workings around the globe and how tenderly, faithfully He ministers to and through His children.
Depending on the day, it may be excitement and joy, or anxiety and fear that surges through me as I think of all we need to accomplish before departure and all the dreams and plans we have for after arrival.
Only God knows which doors He will choose to open and whether these next few years will be primarily characterized by the thrill of reaping or the ache of trials and testings. I know that whatever the case may be, we can trust what comes from His hand. But even as I read these biographies I search my heart and hope that I, too, can be found faithful however He may lead.
The winds of change are blowing once again through our lives, and their perfume is bittersweet.
For most of our married life, Pedro and I have not had the opportunity to live close to family as we have these past five months. Now we will miss what we never had before: Sunday afternoon lunches and "hanging out" with family; our children attending school with their cousins; holidays with the whole family together; Mom-Mom and Pop-Pop taking the grandchildren on special "dates" one-on-one.
Life feels more frail as we head into our second term of missionary service. This year we have said goodbye to a beloved grandmother; cried over the consequences of a beloved teenager's choices; prayed for family members who lost employment and are still waiting for God's provision. The future seems more uncertain in human terms, and that makes saying goodbye more difficult.
In her biography entitled In This Place, missionary Kim Abernethy writes: "Missionaries are creatures who live in the crevices between two worlds." And so we are - yet we live with the faith that one day we will be fully present in a world where there will never be any more goodbyes or uncertainty. What a wonderful world that will be!
Until then, may we be faithful and may God allow us to be used of Him to usher many, many others into that world (Heaven!) as well. For He is "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9.) Amen!