We can all feel it. A desire to put away the grammar books and draw out conversation instead. A focus on the new home to be settled into, and release of that forever-ambition to clean the light fixture in this one. Heartstrings tug as we do life alongside language school friends, knowing there are only a few more runs to catch together, only a few more cups of tea shared face to face. We have four weeks left of walking the same sidewalks, shopping the same Saturday morning farmer’s market. Being newbies together in a foreign language/culture/country has forged some beautiful connections.
And yet, this was never the end goal. The common thread of learning Spanish has woven us together for a time, but different expressions of Christ’s love in different countries form the ultimate tapestry. As Aragorn said to Arwen in the movie version of The Two Towers, “This is a dream.” “Then it is a good dream,” she answered. That is just what this time has been.
It’s hard to leave. All of the questions we set aside to embrace Spanish have risen in a new tide. Will we like our new home? How long will it take to learn the ropes there? Will we be good at our area of ministry? How will our kids adjust? All of the now-familiar paths and places will make way for another round of breaking trails—marking out the way to the grocery store, orienting to new unmarked streets, learning how to pay bills, finding the bank/doctor/dentist/hospital/pharmacy. The structure of our days will change again. For our family, school will move back home as most of Matt’s work transfers out of it. This season of having my best friend by my side all day as study partner, navigator, and negotiator will come to a close.
I have felt the stress, had it nudge me out of bed to be prayed over and sorted through. And to be honest, I have it easy. I have a house already rented and most of its furnishings gathered. We’re heading to a town I’m familiar with, where we already have relationships and a working knowledge of our ministry home. My heart goes out to braver friends leaving for new countries and ministries that they’ve barely met. If my transition is difficult, theirs is heroic.
Being a missionary doesn’t necessarily mean you are good at change, it means you keep taking steps forward until the Lord brings you out on the other side.
Each change has a price tag, some easy, some dearly bought. But this path of following Jesus is also blessed with celebrations along the way. Friendships made that will last a lifetime. Our sweet little kitchen, waiting to be filled with the smell of baking bread and meals for mission teams. The 12 gallons of paint in our laundry room, ready to color a house into home. Fun Spanish conversations like we had with the paint reps, explaining the English names of the colors–“What is bisque anyway?” Little fingers and toes to hold during morning devotions. Smiles to charm out of shy faces, laughter to share with outgoing ones. Connecting with people from around the world with a common heart to live for the Lord.
This transition is both tender and exciting. We are about to step into the dream that the Lord gave us at the very beginning of this journey. Language school has been a challenging, yet beautiful time of preparation. May the Lord bless us all as we go forward to serve, wherever He may lead us.