I'm aware that I'm WAY overdue for a blog-post; however, I wanted to take time today to post something. One year ago today, we left America and began our journey to Asia. I was planning to write something about it but my wife beat me to it (and did a much better job in the process). So I'm stealing the post from her personal blog and copying it below. Thanks for reading, praying, and partnering with us on our journey. And please go out and celebrate for us with some Mexican food or BBQ.
Exactly one year ago today we were boarding a plane heading to the other side of the world, far away from everything that was familiar. It wasn't my first trip to Asia, thank goodness. If that had been the case I think there would have been a few more freak- outs and minor breakdowns in those first days and weeks here. As it was, I knew to expect the outdoor market in all it's raw meat glory, the trash in the streets, the smells. But that barely scratched the surface. I don't think westerners, no matter how well-travelled, are ever prepared for Asia and the complete world of difference that exists between here and there. Not just the food, the houses, the streets, the sanitation system (or lack thereof) and the religion, but even the mindset and the way people here view life and the world is so strange to a foreigner.
So my small breakdowns happened later, in the months that followed, when it sank in that this was not a vacation. This was HOME now. How could this be home? It didn't feel like home. There was no place here-not even the house we were living in-that felt comfortable to me. The beds were hard, the bathrooms were strange. I just knew that any minute a hoard of ants would come streaming out of the holes in the couch and I could not quit watching my baby obsessively for signs of dengue fever that everyone said was inevitable for everyone living here. I couldn't wrap my head around this new life and there were many days on auto-pilot just trying to make it through.
Not long after we moved here I came across a verse that had new meaning for me in these circumstances. Hebrews 11:8-10 is speaking of Abraham and his obedience and faith in following God.
By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land, like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
Why did Abraham leave everything he knew- his country, his people, his father's household? Why was he obedient? Because he knew this world was not his home. This has been a huge lesson for me this past year. No, I am not comfortable a lot of the time in this strange (yes, still, even after a year) land. But I have spent a large part of my life doing things to make myself more comfortable. Avoiding situations where I wouldn't know what to do or what to say. Staying in my bubble of Christian friends and church events and rarely, very rarely engaging the world outside of that bubble. Because I didn't know how. Because that world made me uncomfortable. But God did not call any of us to comfort. In fact, there are very few comfortable stories in the Bible. Why? Because this world is not our home. No matter how shiny our lives look, they are temporary. And it doesn't matter if we live in first world North America or third world Asia…..if we look at our daily or weekly lives and there is nothing we are doing that gets us even slightly out of our comfort zones, we need to ask if we are really being obedient to God's commands. The day we landed in Laos I read a blogpost by another mom living overseas. She said: "Safety and comfort lead only to complacency and control rather than humility and dependance." Those words jumped out at me. I put them on my phone as a screensaver this past year and have looked at them often. It is a huge reminder that we should not always feel safe and in control.
My husband always says time passes very strangely overseas. And it's true. In a way I feel like I stepped off the plane yesterday and also that I've been here for years. I thought after a year I would be fluent in the local language, have a group of close friends and found a church to go to most weeks. None of that has happened yet. But things have happened in a year that we did not expect so quickly, like finding land to buy for the company and a village to invest in. I have been most amazed this year by things that most people would find not significant enough for a newsletter. Like a small, clean afternoon market opening up near our house where I can literally run in and out everyday with just the things I need, or a little boy exactly Carter's age moving in across the street. These are small gifts from a Heavenly Father who does not promise comfort, but abundant life in Him.