Last week, we shared our Top 5 Challenges of Life on Pre-Field… but that isn’t even half the story. For every challenge, there is at least one blessing. So here’s our list of the Top 7 Blessings of Life on Pre-Field… in no particular order.
7. Reconnecting with Friends. Because we are actively inviting people to join our partnership team, we are regularly reaching out to those who have had a big impact in our lives. That includes people now, of course, who do life alongside us. But it also gives us an opportunity to reflect: Who made a difference in our lives in our early years of marriage? In college? High school? Middle school? Who loves the Lord and would be interested in what He is doing in West Africa? Who shares our heart for missions and children’s ministry and making disciples? When we pray about it, who does the Lord bring to our minds over and over and over?
I want to be clear, though: our purpose in seeking to reconnect with people is not so that we can “beg them for money,” as someone once told me (who literally had just met me for the first time ever). It really is to connect: to hear what’s on their hearts and share what’s on ours; to eat a meal together and laugh over kids (or dogs… or me) spilling things; to brag on what God is doing around the world; and then, yes, to invite them to join us in that work.
This is our favorite part, hands down. We love connecting with people
6. Seeing God do the Impossible. This is another fun one. Last summer, we had a goal to reach 50% of our funding… and the Lord did just that. It seemed impossible, but that seems to be His specialty. PS: we made a video when we hit 50% of our funding. You can watch it here on YouTube!
5. Planning Meetings. This will sound super lame to some of you, but Allen and I love a good planning meeting. We’ll pile kids in the car, grab my planner and a pen, and go for a drive while we talk about what’s going on in the next month. We pray for our partners, for our pre-field work, and for guidance as we continue on this journey. Usually we get a coffee, too, and it just becomes a sweet time to reconnect and get back on the same page… especially when the kids all fall asleep.
4. Drawing Closer to God. Countless times over the last year, we have gotten to the end of our rope, so to speak, and found ourselves crying out to the Lord. Wisdom. Sleep. Strength. Provision. He as provided it all… maybe not how we expected, but always how we needed it. It’s humbling that He invites us to work closely with Him, especially when we see how fallen we are. But it’s something we never want to take for granted.
3. Meeting Like-Minded People. We love hearing people say, “I love missions!” Or, “I have always wanted to serve in Africa.” Or, “WOW, God has called you on a big adventure!” It’s like finding a kindred spirit who sees the importance of the Great Commission and wants to engage in it, too. We have experienced that with churches, families, and individuals… and it never gets old.
2. ABWE Trainings. ABWE has a quote in their training room: “If we value excellence, we must value training.” They take training seriously but it is seriously another one of our favorites. All of the trainings are hands-on with practical application focused on skill development, team-building, and glorifying God. We are thankful for those at ABWE who plan and execute these events!
1. Anticipating What God Has Planned. Lately, we have been counting the cost of following Christ to Togo. There are some things we may never get to do, like pay off a house in its entirety, travel to Australia, or take annual vacations to Hawaii. And yet, we know that God is going to do other big things in our lives. Our kids will grow up tri-lingual. We will know what it is to fully depend on God for our livelihood. We will see monkeys and lizards in the wild more than moose. By thinking about and anticipating what God has planned, it makes it a little easier to prepare to leave behind the other things. Besides, He has good things planned for us to walk in… and we can’t do that if we won’t get up from where we are now.
So there you have it: the other side of the coin. This is a journey unlike any we’ve been on before. It is so good. So hard, but so so good.