We have considered it, run from it screaming in horror, researched the logistics of it (Keith literally made a list of all the reasons we can’t move there), tried to shove it far from our minds, made one stab at obtaining housing info which was met with countless volunteer opportunities and God’s-perfect-timing scenarios, spoken to and received counsel from our families, church staff and former missionaries, and now have a “vision trip” planned for this month.
Actually, at this time tomorrow we will be heading to the airport.
For the past several years, living and serving abroad has burdened both our hearts. Keith’s gushy heart more than mine, which I preserve in the freezer. Although we never had an actual conversation about it, like many issues and life-altering events in a marriage, there were comments. To me, these were very frightening comments. I can’t speak for Keith, but I have declined to entertain any thought remotely related to missions. Downright refused it! Plugging my ears in response to that still small voice, speeding up my reading pace when I got to the topic, skipping a segment during a podcast or tuning it out altogether. I was trying to pretend it wasn’t even a blip on my radar.
What a fool. A very shallow fool.
I say I hate stuff! I am even disturbed by people who, like Madame Blueberry, see an empty spot on a shelf or in a closet and have to run to the “Stuffmart.” I have lied to myself, saying I didn’t need “stuff” to live when in reality that need, the security of it, drives most of my decisions. That’s the first reason this choice is at least challenging if not complete insanity for me.
Well, maybe that comes in fourth after #1 being the food, #2 the water situation, and #3 the random who-knows-how-long-they’ll-be power outages.
Oh, the language…#5, the general living conditions…#6, the lack of transportation…#7, the mosquitos, which, by the way, grow to be the size of hornets…#8, the necessity for a bug-shielding tent around your bed…#9, the selection of furniture options: wicker…#10.
Plus, let’s not forget to add that I’m a teensy, weensy, little bit OCD. Reasons #11-49. If you were to see my closet, which gets cleaned out and reorganized on a weekly basis, we would no longer be friends. Still, my problem is so small, really it is. But I’m not sure Ethiopia can accommodate this kind of disorder on a long-term basis.
Who am I kidding! It’s barely manageable here, and that’s only because I am heavily medicated. I’m having the heart palpitations of a panic attack just thinking about giving up my fabulous glittery peep-toe 4-inch heels in exchange for sneakers, which up until now I have refused outside of the gym. Sneakers! All day. Every single day. It’s not just the traveling by foot. It’s that, in addition to the dirt and gravel, those feet are maneuvering rocks and boulders. Giant boulders I tell you! In the blazing sun!
However, when I look at it in light of the Gospel, it’s not so crazy. While I would like to make a list to prove that we are not deranged and explain a little about what we plan to do in Ethiopia, my eyes are so tired. I know. Lousy excuse. But I do have 3 kids, and another 97 things on my mind…keeping me awake at night.
In short, this is where we feel God is leading our family. And, a change of heart (which includes our desires) will overcome any reason you or I can come up with as to why we shouldn’t do this.
I know you’re in shock and have a thousand questions. I’m right there with you. Still in shock with loads of questions. I’ll make an attempt to answer what I can on another day.
Have we told the kids?
No. Absolutely not.
Two reasons: 1) they will ask me for details and a specific departure time at least a hundred times each day until we all board the plane; 2) the boys refer to the orphanage as Ethiopia, and Garrison remembers before arriving at the orphanage, in his words “before Ethiopia.” So they would think we were moving back to the orphanage. Therefore, please do not tell them. Please do not discuss this within even a distant proximity of them. Garris has selective Go-Go-Gadget hearing, commonly seen in young ears. He oftentimes doesn’t hear me address him from across the table but always hears what I say to Keith, Avery and Ivan even though he may be separated by walls, doors and stairs. Warning: If one of them finds out because of your loose lips, whether it be by accident or on purpose, I will pounce on you.
Oh, you should be scared.