Tuesday, September 9, 2014

is it worth it? part 2

"Is it worth it?  
I mean, moving your family overseas, giving up your good job?  
Do you think that what you do is worthwhile?  Like you make a difference?  
Is it worth it?"

In the last post we took a look at the second part of the question, so today let's look at the first part:

"Is it worth it?  I mean, moving your family overseas, giving up your good job?"

This move we took, to leave regular employment, to live by faith, and to transport our family to a foreign country, was a bit of a step of faith.  We really had no idea what we were getting into!  But we were convinced that God was leading us, and so what else could we do?  And the move resulted in amazing blessing for our family.  Together we left what was 'safe' to venture into the unknown, and together we watched God be faithful over and over again.  That bonds a family pretty tight.

So many missionaries, intent on doing something, 
forget that His main work 
is to make something of them.

-Jim Elliot

Worth it for our family

We had unique opportunities (read the past 4 years of our blog!) together that we'll always fondly recall. The community we lived in was close, and that gave us even more closeness as a family.  We struggled together with minor inconveniences, laughed together once they were over, and spent more time around the table than in vehicles on our way to events.  It was a rich environment offering unusual chances to learn, serve, work and play.  Our kids mused at one point how good it would have been to have arrived in Davao earlier in their lives!  It was worth it.

 Worth it in our marriage 

The move was healthy for our marriage, too.  Yes, every season of transition puts pressure on a marriage.  But once we had settled, we found that for the first time in our lives, we were truly working toward the same cause.  We worked with the same people, and I could visit Mark in his office at any time of the day without special permission and a visitor's pass (like at his former job!)  We found that we only grew in common goals, and that our marriage was strengthened through the change.

 Individual benefits

Not only was the move into missions good for our family as a whole, and for our marriage, but it was worthwhile for each of us individually. For Mark, this move into missions was not a flight of fancy, nor the whim of the moment.  I believe that it was a long-term calling which I, perhaps unwittingly, actually held him back from pursuing earlier in our marriage by my love of security.  He has never been so vested, so excited about any work he has ever done.  Though he still loves aeronautics, he never ever found such fulfillment in that industry.  He has been challenged, and his background and personal strengths have equipped him well to do exactly what he does.

For me, this move was a step of faith which God used to challenge me spiritually, and to reveal more of my need for Him.  Could I ask for anything better?  He's given me rich friendships with Filipinos who love Him and me, and with missionaries who love me for who I am, and for the fact that we are working together in service for Him.  He's faithfully provided all I need, and given me opportunities to share with others who have so very much less than I. How rich is that?  He's opened doors for me to do work I've never done before, and I can see even more opportunities in the future that look incredibly interesting to me.  Yes!  It's been worth it.

For Amy, it confirmed her early frugal bent, and provided her with a plethora of ways to find inventive ways to be creative, which she never would have needed to employ in this land stocked with every craft supply you could dream of.  It opened the door for her to play competitive sports at the high school level, to make friends in a multicultural community, and to play her flute and ply her pen and learn contentment in a world away from the materialism of America.

For Elise, it fulfilled an early calling that she felt to become a missionary - long before she knew that we were considering missions.  As someone who had strong sentimental attachments, it gave her the grounds to grow in holding the things of this earth less tightly.  Elise had opportunities to use her artistic skills in ministry, doing both graphic design work and photography in ways that blessed other missionaries around us.  Like Amy, she had opportunities to play high school music and sports, and to grow beautiful multicultural friendships.

For Michael, it shaped his world view. He was overseas during some of the most formative years of his life. He's not entirely at home in the US where you have to use cross walks and seat belts, and there's no rice at McDonald's.  He had a community where he was free to come and go on his own.  He was friends with everyone, from the local grave diggers to the local guards, from poor kids in rags sporting smiles just as bright as his, to wealthy kids so rich they had their own chauffeurs.  He has learned early that material stuff can be unnecessary baggage, and that friendships make you rich.  I think it's been worth it.

Millions have never heard of Jesus. We ought not to ask, 
"Can I prove that I ought to go?' but, 
"Can I prove that I ought not to go?";

-Charles Spurgeon

So, what do you think?  
Could this sort of decision be just as worth it for you?

1 comment:

Rosalie said...

Thank you for sharing this Barb!