where to go?
I am a person that can cause my husband (and possibly others) extreme frustration when it comes to making choices or decisions. I labor over even the smallest choices, stressing myself out trying to decide if I have made a good choice or a bad choice when, really, much of the time the choice I made really has no lasting consequences at all. Where to eat a meal out, for example. Whether or not to go up and talk to someone. What to wear to a particular event. What to make for dessert, or what meal to take to someone in need. Silly, really, even as I look back at those myself!
But what do you do when you are trying to make a big decision? One that really does, in fact, matter? Big decisions can keep me up at night. I confess this--I know that I should not be anxious for anything, and make my requests known to God, but even after lifting it up in prayer I spend too much time still mulling it all over in my head. I don't know why I do this, because He has shown me so many times that He's taking care of the stuff I give Him. I wish it was easier for me to just let it go. Gone. Like a balloon loose on a windy day. Like a flame on a muffed candle. Like, well, any dessert left at my house! :)
When Jon and I started seriously trying to put a plan together to move to Honduras, we tried to discuss exactly where in Honduras we should go. I mean, you can't really just blindfold yourself, wiggle your finger around in front of a map, pin-point a spot and say, "There. That's where we're going." What do you do then? Just show up, put on a big smile, throw out your arms and say, "Here we are!! Ta-da, WE are YOUR missionaries!!!" Not so sure that would work out...I mean, they might not even want missionaries.
So how would we find our place? We had only a few guiding factors for our decision. One, we felt like we were being led to Honduras. Two, we felt that we should go somewhere and assist an existing mission instead of two complete rookies trying to build something from scratch. Three, it was important to us (especially me) to be somewhere that we would have a singular church home. That is, while we would be involved in an evangelistic mission spreading the Word and planting churches throughout a region, that we would be active members in one specific congregation. We feel very strongly that this is essential for our own spiritual growth, as well as developing a sense of security and relationship for us and our kids. Fourth, we were hopeful that we would be able to work with someone who could mentor us during the time that we are so far away from home. We strongly desire guidance and mentoring in regards to our mission, as well as to helping our marriage and parenting skills to grow stronger during this season as well. We thought it would be especially helpful to have someone who either was raising small children or had raised children in the mission field to advise and encourage us.
We originally had planned on applying to work with Mission Lazarus for a year with the goal of spending that time apprenticing and learning from them, then moving on to another more permanent location. Jarrod and Ali Brown were there, had proven themselves as faithful, hard-working, and successful missionaries, and were raising 2 small children, so we thought it would be a great place to learn the basics of the mission work as well as the culture and language. Jon and I both felt confident that this was a good plan. We were halfway through the extensive application paperwork, though, when we received the email that Jarrod and Ali were re-locating back to the States in May of 2010.
So what now? We could still go to ML to learn Mission Work 101, but there would be no one there with children who could be an encouragement and guide for us as parents. There also wouldn't be the opportunity to worship with one congregation, as the missionaries there move from church to church to encourage all of the members in the region.
As a 'shot in the dark', we emailed the Waldron family. You remember? The ones from Cozumel. The ones we saw at Mission Lazarus in 2009. The ones who had just moved to Honduras and planted a mission just one year ago. We weren't really even sure what to say--just that we were wondering where they were at in their mission, if they had considered ever having others come work with them, if they were even at a point where other workers would even have a role to fill there. At the very least, if there was no opportunity for us to maybe work with them, would they mind doing some mentoring or guiding with us as we were trying to take these steps into uncharted territory as far as we were concerned!
Donna emailed back, with such an encouraging response. She shared that they had been open and prayerful that others would come to work with their mission. From then we maintained an email conversation and tried to find a time for us to come visit and see what they had going on in Western Honduras.
Since we were already going to be in the country for our Mayfair trip, we asked the Waldrons about coming to visit the day that our group was flying back to the States. We were hoping that we could visit for a long weekend, then return early the next week, and I don't consider it a coincidence that the weekend we were able to come was the only weekend they had available until after August. Do you?
I will probably do a more detailed post regarding our visit with the Waldrons and the church family in Santa Rosa de Copan, but for the purposes of this post I just want to express that after our little excursion to Western Honduras that we knew God had answered our questions about where we should go.
I could have never anticipated the warm welcome and the encouragement that the brothers and sisters in Santa Rosa gave to us. After only a few hours of working, visiting and worshiping, we felt welcome, included and wanted.
And that, my friends, is how we knew where we should go. We waited for God to work that all out, then we waited for Him to show us. It appears that this is how this entire journey will go...we must learn to wait in faith because just when we need to know it, he will show us our next step.