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 part 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 and those who God has called to work here.
You must love it over there, huh?
The question makes us kind of squirm, and, honestly, I never know how to respond. All these answers jumble in my head. I feel silly as I just kind of smile and nod while wishing I had more than the allowed time of people rushing and trying to squeeze out the door to explain what I actually feel.
Yes, our host country is beautiful. It boasts with a robust biblical and world history, with all types of landscapes, and with delicious food. So, the answer is yes, we do love it over there- but it isn’t for why you think.
Can I be honest? This is raw, but we want you to know our hearts.
We really love our home here in America, too. We love our family. We love our community. We have friends that challenge us to be better Christ followers, spouses, parents, friends, and people. Our kids thrive in their schools. They have best friends that will be lifelong friends, and that is saying a lot when they are only three and five.
God blessed my husband with a great job when we needed to come off the field due to illness five years ago. We like our life in America. We thank God for what He gave us in this season.
And truly, the leaving is hard. We understand the cost so much more than we did on our first term, and the cost is even higher because we have two more precious lives in the mix. Our life in America is easier. Don’t get me wrong, I understand we all have our difficulties no matter the location, and I am not making light of any of the struggles. What I mean is, I understand the American way of life because I grew up here.
I’ve had several days recently where the weight of our leaving filled my chest with knots because I know our stories with our closest friends will diverge, I know we are foregoing the “security” of a good paying job, and I know we are asking our kids to say goodbye to the only life they’ve ever known.
The enemy whispers, “It would be so easy to stay. You would lead a good life. This is the life you wished for when you were little.” But the enemy speaks lies and half-truths.
An individual completely expressed how I felt when she said, “Sometimes God has you walk through things and it is hard. But it is better to be obedient than to be where you aren’t supposed to be.” She explained that one thing might not be wrong, but keeping Jesus on the throne is paramount- “I love ‘this particular thing’, but I love Jesus more.”
We love it there, in our host country, because we see God’s handiwork in the eyes of men, women, and children. We see God’s artistry in how they created their culture. We see powerful redemption in millions of people that are longing for a savior. We see the beauty in what could be if these people turned to God. We love it because God loves them.
We are not going to Central Eurasia because we like the customs, the landscapes, or the food – though it is all amazing. We are going because God asked us to go.
Pete McCully, one of the men martyred with Jim Elliot in Ecuador in the late 1950s, wrote, “A call is nothing more nor less than obedience to the will of God, as God presses it home to the soul by whatever means He chooses.”
Though, yes, we love it there, we love Jesus more.
Though the leaving is hard, we love Jesus more.
Though we know we will face difficulties, we love Jesus more.