HOW MOVING ACROSS THE WORLD GAVE ME A BIGGER HEART FOR MY OWN CITY
I have always been a firm believer that you don’t need to move across the world to make a difference in this world. That is why I found it particularly amusing when God actually did call me to move across the world. As we were preparing to move, I had people make comments all the time about how amazing it was that we were going overseas to help people. While I know they always meant well, I found myself holding back the desire to remind them that all of us can make a difference wherever we may be.
We have been here in Latvia about 6 months now. When we originally moved to Latvia, we really weren’t sure how long we were supposed to be here but we jumped in feet first learning the language, the culture and investing in relationships. We assumed that if God called us across the world, it would likely be a pretty long-term commitment of several years. Why else would he uproot us in such a strong way?
About a month ago, we came to the point where we actually had to start making some decisions about how long we were going to stay. If we really wanted to stay for years, we needed to start a 5-6 month training program this month to become fulltime staff. I felt instantly overwhelmed with making such a huge decision. It wasn’t just about deciding what the next 6 months of our lives would look like, but rather what we wanted the next several years of our lives to look like. In times like these, I always go straight to this verse:
“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you.”
– Isaiah 26:3
So I began to fix my thoughts upon God and ask this one main question, “Where are you calling us to be in this next season of our lives?” The thought of even considering leaving Latvia so soon terrified me. But I surrendered my fear and kept seeking the answer to that one main question. I thought God would give me confirmation of us being here longer, of taking that next step forward into a deeper commitment. But instead God began to fill my mind with something altogether different…
My hometown; the place where I have spent a lifetime developing relationships, where my family and friends are, where I don’t have to wonder if I understand the culture or figure out how to say something in a different language, and most importantly, the place where plenty of brokenness and even human trafficking are happening right now in my very neighborhood.
I suddenly began to view everything God had given me back in America through a different lens. Suddenly the house we own isn’t just somewhere we will have kids, put up a white picket fence and live the American dream. Jobs are no longer something we just do for a paycheck. Relationships aren’t just to make us happy.
Instead, everything God gives us is an opportunity to pour our hearts and passion into making a difference in the lives of broken people, our neighbors, our families and our friends.
We are so thankful for this amazing experience here in Latvia and we will forever carry with us all of the things we have learned and the experiences we have had. We trust that God has used this season to shape and mold us and prepare us for more incredible things within our own home environment.
Ultimately, we are very excited to begin to put our roots down deep into the California soil and embark on a lifelong mission to help broken people find hope and redemption.