“You make known to me the path of life, you will fill me with joy in your presence…” Psalm 16:11

The hardest thing (part 1)

What is the hardest thing God has ever had you do?

Do you know what it is?  Did something come to mind easily?  (or does everything seem hard….)

We left a job with the post office to move to seminary with 3 boys and a baby on the way.  The transfer to the post office in Memphis didn’t work out, so John ended up delivering pizza through seminary.  (We joked that it was probably the most highly educated delivery team in the country.  Several of the guys were working on their master’s degree and there were even some doctoral students!)  We lived on $650/month.  On paper it didn’t make sense, especially since our rent and van payment were already over that amount, but God was amazing and we learned to rely completely on Him and trust Him like we never even dreamed we could.

After seminary, we were career missionaries.  We left the US with 5 children (yes, you counted right…we had 2 more girls during seminary)  ranging in ages from 8 months old on up to 9 years old.  We were going to a place where we didn’t even know a single word of the language and we had all these “babies” with us. Talk about a big learning curve and feeling vulnerable.

We knew that there would be sacrifices involved in going.  We left for Brazil knowing that we may never see my dad again, as he had Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, which typically doesn’t go into remission.  We lost my grandfather and an aunt that first year of language school and almost my dad.  We didn’t get to come home for any of that.  (On a side note……Dad is still here and doing great!  That’s another story in itself.)

After a term in Brazil, we moved to Southern Mexico.  (Have you seen the movie Nacho Libre? )  To get there, we took a 4-month detour through Costa Rica to switch languages.  That was an experience, let me tell you!  We had our family of 7 and no vehicle…….during rainy season.  Every day, like clock-work, it poured from 1-8 p.m.  And we walked.   And walked.  And walked.  (Did I mention that it rained?)  It wasn’t so bad really and we enjoyed it (sort of), but it was definitely a very different experience from anything we had ever done before.  The kids still have fond memories of being absolutely soaked and laughing as we tried to make it back to our house on those days.

In Brazil, our car was stolen at gunpoint and my husband was shot at from 6-feet away.   The bullet grazed his head and landed in the wall of our house right behind him.  In Mexico, our vehicle broke down in the middle of a 5-hour drive between where we lived and the city while we were on hairpin turns in the mountains.  By “breaking down”, I mean “no brakes or steering control”.  That was fun.   Especially when there was no one nearby and when we finally got in touch with another family serving nearby they just said, “ok, have a safe trip”.

I could tell you crazy story after crazy story.  Trust me.

But none of these was the hardest thing we ever did. 

The hardest thing we ever did was walk away from that and come  back to the States to serve here.  Seriously.

We had every intention of being career missionaries until retirement or death.  There was no plan B, nor was there any desire to have a plan B.

To Be Continued………………        (part 2)



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