“Can we take the Lego table PopPop made for us?”
This was Isaac’s first question when we explained to the kids that we will not be taking a crate to Africa this time. Instead, we’ll have 2 trunks each.
I gently had to answer “No” to Isaac’s question, but then quickly added that I am sure we can take lots and lots of Legos (kind of like those packing peanuts). He took it pretty well. So did his brothers and sisters. We are thankful for kids who just aren’t into their “stuff”. Ahem…well, lest we sound too above it all, I mean except for a laptop and some iPods. I think they all breathed a sigh of relief when we said we are taking those:)
So we are already beginning to pare down – donating or selling things- in preparation for the BIG sale we will have in February or March.
As I think of my own attachments, I know that it isn’t things I will miss the most. It’s the people I love. I well remember the 6 years in Zambia missing out on family celebrations, funerals, holidays, and just simple visits with those I love. There’s just something about a one-way ticket that makes my stomach hurt.
Twelve years ago, I went to Africa not knowing the homesickness that lay ahead of me. No one could have prepared me for the depth of sadness I would feel at times, the raw grief and sorrow. I don’t think missionaries ever really get over that. Even now, I have missionary friends in both stages. Some are young and on the field long-term for the first time and now having their first baby. Others have been there for a while and now are sending their college-aged child back to the US alone. Either way the feelings of homesickness and/or grief are still intense. The young couple misses the friends and family back home who would have ooh-ed and aw-ed over their new baby.The other couple grieves about being so far away from their first-born as he encounters all the struggles and trials of adulthood. And yet, both couples believe God’s promise: “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold and shall inherit eternal life.” (Matt.19:29) They believe that there is more to life than the here and now.
Before the above verse, Jesus assures His disciples “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” And that’s what we are trusting in: that, at the end of the day what seems crazy, unthinkable, undo-able, improbable, and impossible is all within the realm of the great possibilities of God. He will take what we give over to Him (even if somewhat reluctantly) and give it back even better than it was before.