The Questions We Ask Ourselves
Somehow as we communicate with all of you, I want you to know what we’re doing and the way it works out into the larger area and community. I want you to know a little of this delightful place and culture. I want you to see our world and family so that we are personal and real. And I want you to see the other side too, the struggles and questions and challenges.
Yes, the questions. This year especially in the wake of great grief in Isaac’s family in the loss of both his grandparents and his mom, Isaac has said repeatedly that we’re in a time of counting the cost of being here and far away from family. Is it worth it? Being far away from some of our most loved people for years on end…as they age, as cousins grow rapidly and form memories together while our kids are far away?
Is it worth it, the impact being cross-cultural and somewhat isolated has had on us, the challenges it has brought to our marriage, to our kids? Is it worth it that our kids only know what it is to be a foreigner and do not have roots that will last, or a home? Is it worth it that the needs of educating kids and providing a stable home (and not being given a work permit by the government) has prevented Kacie from working outside the home as she had hoped? That the kids have no real educational option but homeschool? Is it worth the scarred lungs and effects of dengue fever and perpetual skin infections?
We work here through the “sending” of the financial support of the church in America and England. And so, despite being far away, all of you are able to minister via us all the way over here, in this place. But it also means that we are keenly aware of the sacrifice others make to enable our lives and work here. Are we worth it?
Our role here is equipping others to go out and lead and be on the front lines. Our work is, by design, in the background most of the time. We’re really aware that many people here would gladly make us the hero and American missions have a history of making themselves the hero in a way that can be really unhealthy. We try to not take that (sometimes literal) seat of honor. Sometimes, though, it would be super awesome to go out and do the things that would give us great response from people who would tell us how meaningful and important we are, how much we are needed. Because then we would know or at least feel like it IS worth it, right?
Sometimes the evangelical world has painted work overseas as the coolest, most spiritual, most meaningful work in the world. We don’t buy that idea either, it’s unhealthy. We see deep needs here, but truly we see deep needs in America too, and work in one place is not more spiritual than the other. Why then, if all work is meaningful, do we live with the sacrifices and suffering that it takes to be overseas, and not just overseas but as far overseas as we are here in Manokwari? Is it worth it?
Isaac said last week that he got to scan the room and watch the faces of his students as they took the midterm. Thinking of each of them, who they are, their lives, their communities, and their futures… that’s super encouraging. That brings him joy and deep satisfaction and meaning. In most ways, our lives here are more settled and stable and manageable than ever before, praise God.
Still. We ask those questions and I want to share them with you all to be honest. I’m not going to answer them here, because I think the questions are hard and sometimes scary, but are also healthy and sometimes necessary to ask. We don’t want to be here just on default, we want to stay in tune with where God is guiding us, and what our place is here at this point in time and with the needs and growth of the church currently. We simultaneously plan to be here for our whole lives and also ask ourselves on the regular if this is where God wants us to be and if it’s right for our family right now. It’s a rather unstable way to live, never sure if you’re talking about 1 year or 10 years or 30 years!
Would you pray with us that while we are here, our lives are used to bless the people and place around us? That we would be a vessel in the hands of a good Potter, for His purposes?