Going home for Christmas was the first time I was in the States after an entire year. I knew it would be different, I had never been away from my family for so long or let alone my old bed… I was so excited to get back to “my country” but once I got back it kind of wasn’t all that I dreamed it would be…. You see I’d been gone so long that Raleigh no longer felt like home, and I realized that some how Ecuador had slipped into my heart and I knew Quito was and is right where I belong.
On the plane ride back to Quito, I wrote this….
I’m not an MK in any means but I really feel like a missionary who is just a kid. No one tells you how to deal with the struggles of culture shock in your own country, no one tells you that even sleeping in your own bed won’t feel like home, no one tells you that your relationships with others are now awkward thanks to the distance and time. No one wants to hear about your new home as much as you want to tell them.
But when your back in your birth country… You just happen to soak in all the easy ways of life and parts of you dread returning to the difficult and different ways things are done overseas. You enjoy going out at night or running without feeling threatened or simply pulling out your phone in public. When you think of those things you get sad to leave… No one told you missions would be this way. Everyone told you there’d be sacrifices but no one ever told you about the realities of mixed emotions, not met expectations, struggles to put two worlds into your heart.
My dream has always been to be a missionary and I love it but as I have mentioned no one is prepared for the random struggles of the heart. The sacrifices are for sure huge but so is the impact to your identity and heart… Plainly put I am a mess of a missionary but what the heck! Why not live big, love with all your heart, and just risk the pain! Is not just serving God make it all worth it? There are definitely a lifetime of awkward moments which I have lived out in only two years but I smile at the joys of the lessons I’ve learned and the identity I’ve found in Christ!
I bet the disciples were pretty confused when Jesus called them… Yeah they were excited and honored and overjoyed and willing but to just get up and go is pretty intense! They probably were like, “Where do I belong now?” And where was that? Right beside Jesus! So sure sometimes they had no idea what fork to use when in Jerusalem or what sandals to wear in Bethlehem but they went and they figured it out! There were things that they wrested with but Jesus called them by name. He chose them to be the ones with those struggles!
Jesus called me.
He knew my heart would get a little mangled and tangled up with two worlds colliding but right there in the middle of that muck he whispers, “Come follow me, and I will make you a fisher of men.” So this battered heart filled with goodbyes, confusion, and sometimes tears will be fine.
Throw caution to the wind! Be crazy! Go for it and follow Jesus! The messy stuff hurts but it’s far greater to follow and be healed by my creator than to miss an opportunity to live an adventurous life!