Sunday, August 11, 2013
Back in Bolivia
What is the hardest thing your missionary will ever face? I can tell you without a doubt that it's not the bugs, the food, or the language learning that's most difficult or challenging––it's separation from family and friends––friends are family too! And, most missionaries leave their families for more than two years at a time. Sometimes it is three or four years before they are reunited with loved ones.
We just returned to Bolivia after six weeks of traveling in the States. It was a blessed time! I was honored to be invited to the AWSA Conference and also attended ICRS in St. Louis. Meeting my publisher, Tracy Ruckman, for the first time along with fellow authors was a highlight of the trip. After that, we headed to our daughter's home where we spent three weeks with our grandchildren––our son-in-law and daughter too. :-) While there, my husband received medical help from one of the top hospitals in the country. He is now on his way to full recovery from nerve damage in his back. God directed and blessed all along the way.
From the moment we arrived back in Bolivia, our work resumed as though we never left. I should say the void of leaving our family and friends was filled because God's work is our passion and serving Him gives us joy. Of course, we miss our family and friends, but God gives peace that passes understanding. Our work is people––serving them, teaching them, and most important leading them to the Savior. It's said if you choose a profession you love, you will never work a day in your life. However, as much as I love what I do, I'd have to say (from my experience) missionary life is work. But if we serve God and work for Him, our work is never in vain. "Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know your labor in the Lord is not in vain." 1 Corinthians 15:58 (NIV) Our work has heavenly rewards that last for eternity.
Although we are sad to be separated from our family and friends, the joy of serving God is indescribable––except for saying it might be compared to heavenly joy! Most times it is more than two years between our furloughs, but we find God's promises are true. "Faithful is he who calls you, who also will do it." 1 Thessalonians 5:24 (KJV) Yes, we can do all things through Him.
And, God has given us "family" in Bolivia. Our Bolivian brothers and sisters in Christ will be with us throughout eternity. It's about eternal things––serving God so that others can be with their family for eternity. We are privileged to be called to share Jesus with those still waiting to hear about Him. Praise God, our labor is not in vain!