We’ve planned, waited, changed plans, and waited some more. This week, we will finally get on a plane!
We have our visas, passports, tickets, and negative COVID tests in hand. We’ve sold our truck and camper, cleaned out our storage unit, sorted our lives, and packed all of our belongings into eleven suitcases.
The past seven months of “bonus time” (due to closed borders and COVID restrictions) has been so, so precious. We’ve spent lots of time with friends and family, especially our little nephews. We had weekly family dinners with my parents and sisters and their families. We celebrated multiple birthdays and were able to spend extra weeks in Illinois. We’re so sad to leave the people we love here, we’re THRILLED to be able to go.
We’ve also enjoyed watching “The Chosen”, a multi-season show depicting the ministry of Jesus. (It’s SO well done and SO worth watching!) In the first season, Jesus told his disciples to “get used to different.” Their ministry on earth wouldn’t always make sense to the people around them. They would be different and would stand out as they followed Jesus.
That’s a bit how I feel right now. When we’re at church and surrounded by people who love and follow Jesus, our life seems pretty normal. We’re so thankful for how encouraging our family and friends have been! But whenever I have a conversation with someone who doesn’t know Jesus, our life seems ridiculous when viewed through their eyes. Many think we’re insane to take our children to live in West Africa.
Perhaps people think you’re crazy for the way you spend your money on missions and helping those around you, rather than saving to spend on yourself. It doesn’t make sense to the world to commit yourself to a local church and attend Sunday morning service, even when the weather is beautiful or your sports team is playing.
The awesome thing is that “different” is what it looks like to live with eternity in focus. This is what it looks like to obey God - to trust Him with our family, our lives and our finances.
One of my favorite of Jack’s sermon illustrations involves a hypothetical game of Monopoly.
Imagine that someone said to you, “You’re all going to play a game of Monopoly, but I want you to follow me during the game, rather than follow the game rules. Sometimes, I might want you go backwards around the board. Other times, I’ll have you give your money and property away. You probably won’t win the game. But, in the end, if you followed me - even if you lost the game - I’ll give you a million real-life dollars.
It wouldn’t be hard to respond, “Sure! Monopoly money isn’t worth anything in the real world, so I’ll do whatever you want me to do in the game in order to win the real prize.”
I love this example because it causes me to put into perspective the difference between our time on earth and our time in eternity. We daily need to choose to value the real prize at the end, rather than the short-term “Monopoly money” this world has to offer.
I’m so thankful for all of YOU - walking backwards with us around the game board, giving away our time and resources for the sake of the Kingdom. I cannot even express the way that your prayers and encouragement have lifted our eyes and strengthened our hearts.
Thank you, thank you for following Jesus with us - and going with us! What a team! We love you!