“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 2)

As I said in my previous post  ( part 1) , the hardest thing we ever did wasn’t going to the mission field, but leaving the mission field.   We honestly had no intentions of ever leaving.

We went to seminary specifically to work towards serving as career missionaries.  That was the plan.  There was no back-up plan, nor any interest in another plan.  We knew we were doing exactly what God had for us to do.  Our seminary years were pretty amazing and our calling was confirmed over and over.

Fast forward to 7 years on the field and all of a sudden we were faced with the decision of staying on the field very sick, taking a leave of absence, or taking a medical resignation.

It was pretty crazy how that came about.  We went to Guatemala for a week and John didn’t feel so great while we were there. (He had started feeling bad before we went there.)  When we got back to Mexico, he had to go away for another week of meetings in another part of Mexico.  He told me on the phone that he was not feeling well.  When he came home from that trip, he looked sick and thinner.  Even the kids noticed.  He began bleeding like crazy and long story short, he lost 30 pounds in 3 weeks.  We drove back and forth to the city 5 hours away for testing and treatment.  It was decided that he had 1,000s of parasites and severe Ulcerative Colitis.  His mother and grandmother both had Chron’s Disease.

We tried to live with it, but he was so sick.  The heat and environment where we lived made it worse.  Leaving wasn’t an option in our minds at the time.  Eventually, after about 7 months, we realized that it wasn’t working to live there and that he wasn’t getting any better.

John contacted 12 men that he greatly admired and had them pray with him for the next 30 days for clarity in what God would have us to do.  It was the hardest decision we ever made.  We left part of our hearts on the field and we do miss it greatly.  It was definitely a loss for our family and made for an interesting transition.  Although we were glad to be back “home” in the US, it also wasn’t “home” anymore.

What do you do when you’re in that position….sick, needing to leave the field, but needing another ministry position?   What kind of cover letter do you write for that resume?  We left it in God’s hands and just trusted Him as we have learned to do.

Once again, God provided and He opened doors in amazing ways and made it very clear what our next step would be.   Sometimes God uses ways we would never expect to “nudge us from the nest” or transition us into the next phase of our calling.   Even though they are hard, and may not make sense to us, we may later find them to be our biggest blessing.  John ended up as the Associate Pastor of Missions and Evangelism at a church in my hometown.     Little did we know the significance that would have for us.

To Be Continued……..       (part 3)



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