It was quite evident when we disembarked the plane in Jakarta that we "weren't in Kansas anymore". But back then we were on fire and excited. We did indeed have a nation to save, YES? However, the fire was quickly extinguished when the porters at the airport tried to extort money from us so we could get our bags back, the bus that was sent to pick us up (think circa 1985) could not run the engine with the AC and then would not run at all - 5 hours later on the side of the toll road in this foreign land and I should have been researching ticket fares home. :) But no, we had a calling and we were sent for a purpose, a mission - something more than ourselves.
Now fast forward one month and the home we were in was growing mold (the fuzzy kind, not just the black spots) in one 24 hour period on our exterior walls. Our youngest daughter ended up with dengue and unable to walk by herself with high fevers. The puppy our kids wanted slowly withered away and died despite our best efforts to bottle feed and take care of it and then - Steve's dad wasn't going to make it - he flies home. All of this and we had barely hit the 6 month mark.
Finish year one with my crying in the airport as my oldest son flies back for college and I was a mess - really.
Surely next year will be better.
Year 2 was better, we were in a non-moldy house. I was starting to make a few connections to feel a bit less lonely. I still missed our son, but he was not proving to be a great communicator and I was really missing that relationship. Then cancer entered my new friends life and as quickly as I came to know her and her family - they were back in the US as well. Add onto this a very difficult relationship with the wife of a co-worker and sickness galore - maybe year three will be better.
Year three is now closing and as much as it has been better - sickness and just tiredness will not leave our home. My schedule is overwhelming, but most of all I miss home. I understand why most organizations require their missionaries to go home for furlough during at most a three year period. You need that shot of energy and comfort. No comfort for us back home I am afraid. Although we do have guests finally coming to see us and the work we do.
That woman who stepped off the plane on fire has aged more than three years in the three she has been here - she is tired and struggles with the many hats she is to wear in the process of a day.
I have gained weight and wrinkles, my hair is so gray now.
Somehow I got old. Why am I here?
And then I look up and hear a former Buddhist student evangelizing her classmate. Sharing her story of how good God is and it all comes flooding back. The harvest is not always my calling, just tilling the ground might be the extent of my work, but what good work it is. I see my husband with his hand on a student praying for his family. He is their pastor in so many ways and they truly love him and look to him in their journey. I sit with a group of girls as they discuss their self worth in Christ and I know - my calling is clear.
I am in the home God has for me during this time.