Next Tuesday, it will mark the one-year anniversary of the last overseas missions trip I took. One year since I left the States for Romania. Fourteen days beyond that will be the one-year for being in the States mark.
And, in a way, it makes me sad.
I know that God wants me here for something. I know that my work here is important, that working in the local CEF chapter here in my hometown is important. That there are kids here who need to hear the Gospel. That I'm following God's will--at least, as much of it as He's revealed to me so far.
I don't want it to be God's will for me to be here. I want to go someplace. I want to feel the press of g-forces as a plane takes off beneath me, carrying me thirty thousand feet up into the air. I want to be on my way to someplace on another continent, with strange smells and different foods and beautiful languages. I want to be running through an airport, trying to find an eatery with somewhat affordable food so that I can eat before I get on the plane. I want to have colorful money in my hands that crinkles oddly and shines when I hold it up to the light. I want to learn how to twist my tongue around the words of a new 'hello'. I want to see dark little hands put into mine.
I want to run through a weed-infested churchyard, chasing a Romanian five year old who's challenged me to a game of tag. I want to walk through an African compound with a child on my back as we head home from church. I want to be in a Chinese high school where the beds are made of wooden slats and I don't have the option of a fork. I want to stare down from a plane window at the Sahara Desert, or the Pacific Ocean, or the soaring mountains of Germany. I want to stand below Big Ben, and walk along the fence of Westminster Abbey. I want to stand in an airport terminal and press my nose against the window and try to see beyond the fence that surrounds me. I want to go into a mall and feel that relief at air conditioning. I want to hug an orphan whose teeth flash white from a dusky-dark face.
I want to feel the press of a hand from someone who's just heard the Gospel for the first time. I want to see a smile from a child who's hanging upside down from a rusted carport, and know that as I smile we're communicating, even though he doesn't speak a word of English and I can't say more than three words in Romanian. I want to be able to sit next to an old woman and watch her prepare a meal for her family, knowing that words aren't needed, because we're sitting here, listening to the village celebrate the miracle of Christ. Words aren't needed. Our English and Nyanja is sufficient, because we don't need to use it.
I want all these things.
But I don't need them.
I know I don't need them. I know that there's something in this time here, firmly in the States, sitting behind a desk, reaching out to little kids who, more often than not, are of precisely my skin tone, that God has to show me. I know that He will use this time. I know He has appointed it. I know that He's going to reveal this whatever-it-is to me in His perfect time. I know that, when He does, I'll understand (at least in part), and I'll be the better for it.
But it's hard. And perhaps it shouldn't be. Because, everyday, God is revealing to me just how deep the hurt runs right here in my country, in my hometown. How deeply some of these children are hurting. How much of them simply need to be pulled into a bear hug and told how much He loves them.
So yes, travelling overseas is thrilling. I doubt my heart for international missions is going to go away anytime soon (at least, I hope not, because that would be sad). But for now, I'm working on being content right where I am. Giving my life up for the One who gave up His own.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
- Kyla Denae