In some ways it seems like yesterday and in others it seems like decades, but it was in fact one year ago today that we left behind what we knew as “home” to begin a new journey, four years in the making.
Looking back, I feel like we were just babies, taking our first steps.
We are different people now. In a lot of ways.
I sit here on the couch in a wooden house, listening to the sounds of the Jungle outside, realizing that this very place that we now call home wasn’t even on our radar back then.
There is a young family of Jagua Indians living in our guest room with their baby girl who almost died in that same room just a couple months back. We didn’t know that she, along with her Mama and Daddy, would fill our hearts and home when Richard first met her back in January. They are now the focus of our discipleship as we pour into them so they can pour into their people one day.
There’s a six year old girl sleeping in a bed right next to Elliott’s who, Lord willing, will one day carry our last name. We didn’t know that when God closed the door for us to move into the village that he would plant us right down the road from our future daughter. Her little eyes haveseen things no child should see and she asks the same questions over and over every day, just longing for reassurance and security. And we begin to walk this journey of adoption together, realizing this picture of the Gospel.
There’s a three-year-old boy, our first born, who is sleeping in that same room. His neck is swollen with Mumps right now and over the last year he’s had his fair share of illness, but boy is he a trooper, bringing life and laughter everywhere he goes. When we started this journey his was a pacifier addict, strutting around in Pampers. Now he sports batman undies and Daddy taught him how to use a machete. He speaks two languages and is learning his third, often correcting me along the way. The kid’s a beast.
There’s a squishy little 9.5 month old Brazilian who might just be the happiest child that God every created sleeping in our bedroom. She came to this country in my belly and, though she has no idea, played a huge role in our ministry here just in her birth. She wakes up with a smile and, on those almost-to-much-to-handle kinda days, her sweet smile offers a mini-vacation from the stress.
There’s a man asleep in our bed that he built with his own hands who carries the weight of the world on his shoulders every day, yet still finds time to play with his kids, read them bedtime stories, brush their teeth, and pray with them. So many times I watch in awe as he works in so many roles, all with the one goal of glorifying Christ.
And then there’s me. I look back at the person I was when we got on that airplane and I think, “I don’t even know that person any more!”
We are changed.
And we are changing.
The days are hard sometimes. You don’t anticipate the loneliness of the mission field. The sun is hot and the needs are many. Sickness is prevalent and sleep can be hard to come by. Some people will criticize and others will be ungrateful.
I find, though, that when I stop looking around and start looking up, I begin to see a little more clearly that we aren’t the ones writing this story anyway. It’s a story that started way back before creation. We were born into a story already in progress and one that will continue to be written long after we are gone.
We are just the hands and feet at the end of a dead end street in a tiny town in a small region of a big country on a big planet doing the day to day of what God has called us to in order to make His name famous to the ends of the earth.
This past year has been full of tears, laughter, heartache, joy, sickness, health, loneliness, new friends, opportunities, and redirection. There has been frustration and anger, laughter and relief.
And it’s through all of this that we learn, as Paul says, to be content in whatsoever state we are in… and to become more like our Savior.
Thanks to all of you who have joined us in the journey. Through prayer, encouragement, visiting, and giving, you have been an intricate part of this story, too.
Thanks for walking this journey with us.
It truly is a beautiful one.