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.
I moved to the Silk Road this past summer with my husband. Before we were married, I spent two amazing years here. Years filled with growth, adventure, and friendships. By the time I left I felt comfortable with who I was. There were still all the regular challenges of life on the field, but I knew where I fit.
This time, things are different. There’s the simple multiplication of people: two plane tickets, two sets of visa paperwork, and two people’s needs and desires to consider. He’s an experienced worker as well, but there’s a whole learning curve to walking this road with another person as close as a spouse.
We fought more in our first weeks than we had in the whole of our marriage so far. Jetlag, the inability to speak the language, culture shock, and transition stress left us threadbare and impatient. When I was single and living with roommates, it was easier to create insulation in moments like this: go to your room and close the door. Married, the dance is a little bit different.
It’s also different when we live in a culture where the status of a married woman can be dramatically different than that of a single woman. There are many cultural rules here about how men and women communicate with each other. As a single woman I talked with realtors, electricians, storeowners, and many other men that were implicated in my life. Now that I’m married, those conversations are deferred to my husband.
As with so many other things, sometimes that’s a relief. Having a partner walking on this journey with me means certain responsibilities get lifted off my shoulders. There are days where I just look at my husband and say, “Can you just take care of this?” However, the process of who handles what can also be awkward, confusing, and even hurtful if we aren’t careful to be considerate of the other.
My husband is certainly more of a blessing than a curse. We are learning how to adjust our marriage to life on the field, or maybe adjust life on the field to our marriage. The wise and patient man I married quickly realized that many of our fights were stemming from fatigue, stress, and insecurity due to our new circumstances.
Suddenly the middle of an argument was the perfect time to say, “Hey, I love you more than this issue.” As we took a moment to hug and recognize what was actually causing our anxiety, it gave us an opportunity to find a refuge in one another instead of an enemy.
Being on the Silk Road with my husband is an adventure that is filled with humility, sometimes exhausting, and that fills me with joy. I was not incomplete when I served God unmarried, and I have not lost significance as my role has changed this time around.
Things are different, but good. The Lord brings blessing in all seasons, and it is a privilege to learn to trust Him in this one.