My life is pretty splendid. I work a lovely day job as a social worker, helping people get food, financial, and prescription assistance. I help lead two awesomely fun Girl Scout troops. I am married to an adorable husband. He works as a shift supervisor at a drug store, and he does bar security on Saturday nights. He takes martial arts classes a few nights per week. Most of my family lives in town. I hang out with my grandparents and siblings all the time. I like to go for walks around our nifty little neighborhood. We are in training to become Natural Family Planning instructors. Someday, we hope to have a family through adoption.
Naturally, we have both given notice of our last days at work and recently sold my car. I am organizing a yard sale to get rid of most of our furniture and other belongings and using the money to buy plane tickets to a location not yet determined. I am looking at our paycheck schedule to find days when Wesley can acquire his passport and be inoculated against typhoid, polio, and hepatitis.
God willing and the creek don’t rise, we will be leaving this summer to serve as Salesian lay missioners for one or two years. The Salesians are the second largest religious order in the world with tens of thousands of priests, brothers, and nuns living in over 130 countries. They care for poor and at risk youth by running schools, orphanages, Churches, health centers, and oratories (youth centers). Lay volunteers often serve as teachers, care givers, or tutors. However, there are endless ministry opportunities based on the needs of each site and the talents of the volunteers. Boarding, food, medical care, and travel are covered. Volunteers receive a small stipend for other living expenses.
Now, I cannot read your mind. But based on popular response, your reaction may be one of the following:
1. “Wow! That’s awesome. You are going to have an amazing experience.”
2. Super wide eyes and mouth in “o” shape. Then rapid-fire questions.
3. “Oh,” then walk away.
4. “That’s really interesting. Can you bring home a baby?”
5. Look of general confusion and discomfort
In response to number four: no. That is super illegal. While we would love beyond measure to adopt oodles of babies, that must be put on hold for now.
Why disrupt our lives and make dear friends and family uncomfortable? Why put ourselves through more financial strain (We must pay for our airfare to orientation and our mission country. We are reimbursed upon return to the US. Insurance does not cover travel doctor visits or vaccinations)? Are we aware that this is completely insane? Why don’t we just stay home and do what normal people do?
Because in the deepest part of our souls, we know that God is asking us to do this.
By my math, none of this is going to work. It is completely foolish for me to quit my fantastic job. I am working on several projects that probably cannot be finished before we leave. We certainly cannot afford plane tickets. I feel extremely apprehensive about leaving my family and friends. There is no guarantee that anything will go well on mission. Why, then, do I feel the most profound sense of peace about undertaking this journey? I keep asking God if this is really what He wants for us. I tell Him my fears and inform Him that it appears that none of this is going to work. Every single time, He floods my soul with the quiet, unshakable assurance that we are doing what He has asked. I am trying to learn to trust God. That is difficult when only recently was it explained to me how to do this.
This trusting God business is scary for me. People like to tell me that God will never give me anything I cannot handle. Ha! Wrong. Unless you count screaming at bumper stickers and throwing computers as “handling it.” Perhaps, if I would stop wresting the situation out of the hands of my creator, I might see that He desires to show me His strength, not my own.
Whether you believe that going on mission is the most wonderful decision ever or that we have completely lost our minds, please pray for us. Also, you should know that at least once a day, I will agree with your assessment. Click here to learn more about the work we might be doing.