Have you heard the expression “Boots on the Ground?” Well our Live Dead Missionaries are the boots on the Silk Road. Here we’d like to take a moment and allow one of them to share a snapshot of their life with you. Some names and details have been changed, but this is a true story from this colorful, vibrant, and sometimes surprising region.
We were months from starting our first term on the Silk Road, still stateside. We gathered for training with fellow workers. Women split off from men. “Ladies, choose a scarf, cover your head and let’s pray for our area of the world.” Others picked through the scarves to find their favorite. I just grabbed one and sat down and wondered how in the world I was to “cover my head” with this thing. I watched as everyone else did it so beautifully.
I laid the scarf on my head and felt ridiculous. And then we prayed. Except I didn’t. I sat there with my eyes closed wondering if I could do this. Hoping no one sensed how uncomfortable this was for me. Everyone else seemed so confident. I felt called but uncertain I was cut out for this. I didn’t know if I could leave my dream of the American Dream. We finished praying and I took my scarf off as quick as seemed appropriate.
Two months ago, I found myself in a fetal position on my bed grieving leaving my home. The place where I had learned to wear a scarf for the previous three years. I had done it. And it was mostly three years of sweet joy. Amidst my tears, three kids begged for a countdown calendar for our leave to America, two of them not really knowing what America even was. But anticipation was great. My heart at some point aimed for my American home as well. The last weeks were long. We boarded the plane. We landed. I cried upon decent and landing.
Finally, after all the build up, the anticipation, the countdown, we were home.
The joy in the reunion with family almost makes up for the lonely days away from them. It’s beautiful. And I practically skipped through the aisles of Target that first week while I shopped for new clothes. Week two was hard for me. I found myself impatient and unkind, irrationally emotional. I was a wreck. And then my son said just yesterday, “Mom, do you feel like America isn’t as great as we all thought it would be?”. Bless him. That was it. We had been waiting for these days for months. Dreaming of all things American. But in week two, I realized my heart just isn’t here anymore. All the things I left loving so much three years ago feel so much less fulfilling.
What a relief. I wasn’t having a breakdown. My heart just isn’t home.
So, the aisles of Target and Ross themselves seem much emptier than they used to. But walking down those aisles with my mom make them full. So instead of binging on American food and shopping sprees as I had originally thought, we will spend our days here doing what is special to us: being with family and talking about our home; the place where I love to tie that scarf on my head.