I was kind of in shock a few days ago as it sunk in that we LIVE here now. This is not just a short-term or even a long-term mission trip—this is replanting here. Most of the time I am great with that and excited about what God will do here! Other moments I am terrified and overcome with sadness (and I am sure hormones and sleep deprivation are contributing to some of those negative feelings). I finally realized today, after many tears yesterday, that I am having to daily, sometimes hourly, crucify my old life for the sake of the Gospel. It doesn’t mean I forget the people, places, or memories, but it means I stop trying to cling to them, stop dwelling on them, and begin to look forward instead of backwards.
But oh it is so hard!! As I began unpacking things into our house yesterday I saw so many reminders of people from home and I wept because I realized more than ever that those people are not here and those things won’t be again for a while. The last 16 months of living in SC so close to family with a family of my own was one of the sweetest seasons of my life. Our family was surrounded by believers who loved us and ministered to us. But with only 1% of Czechs claiming to follow Christ, that same scenario simply isn’t possible here. Thinking of my kids, for instance, not getting to go to their sweet, Christ-centered preschool with their buddies and caring teachers got me in the gut every time. There are so few people here who even know of the true God, and we likely will never experience in the Czech Republic the amount of Christian community we had access to in the states.
I can look back and thank God for that time and those memories: the circus with grandparents, Papa/Gaga pizza night, Thai Taste trips with David’s family, 4 generations at a football game together, the sweetest church family I know of and amazing times at small group, beach trips, mountain trips, lunches at Pop’s, family dinners, and the list goes on. Those memories are precious to us, and we will keep them close even though we’re separated from the ones we shared them with. But God has also asked us to remember that he has called us here and that he has plans for us here we don’t even realize yet. Jesus is worth all of this. The majority of the people in this country are living (and dying!) without Jesus, and we know this is where he wants us.
So when the tears begin to well up, I remember and cling to our clear calling. We know he brought us here to do Kingdom work, and there is plenty of it to do. And I thank God for all the memories we will make here, like exploring our new city, joining other believers for worship in our new church, and watching our kids play with new friends (even when they don’t speak their language). These little blessings give my heart hope and courage. There is so much to be thankful for, and we are trusting there is even more to look forward to!