I recall very clearly how I felt when my family was just weeks away from leaving for our first missionary term in Brazil.
We had worked very hard to get to that point, but we didn’t feel close to being ready. Those were exciting, scary, hectic, exhilarating and faith-building days.
During that time, we learned to rely on God in a new and different way, and when we finally arrived in Brazil, we learned to rely on Him even more.
Those first days and weeks I experienced one of the biggest transitions of my life. Everything was different — different language, different climate, different food, different money, different house, different friends. My life felt like a snow globe that someone had shaken up. But amid all those changes and new experiences, there was the deep realization that I was doing exactly what God had called me to do, and I was in the very center of His will.
For any wife about to leave for the mission field or those still settling in, I have four challenges for you:
1. Keep your marriage and your family as your primary focus. There are many missionaries and opportunities to minister, but your husband only gets one wife and your kids only get one mom.
2. Take care of yourself — physically, emotionally, and spiritually. You cannot minister to others if you are empty. Your ministry starts with your daily walk with the Lord.
3. Remember God is the one who produces the fruit. We prepare the soil, we plant, we water, we fertilize, but in the end it is God who saves souls and builds believers. Be faithful in what God has called you to do and leave the results to Him. Don’t allow yourself to get discouraged when you don’t see the fruit as quickly or as profoundly as you would like. Just trust the Lord.
4. Don’t forget that the most important work you do will be done on your knees. As it says in Zachariah 4:6, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by power nor by might, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.”
Leaving family and friends behind as you step out to serve the Lord is not easy. I vividly remember how I felt as I got on a plane and left my 18-year-old daughter here in the United States. I wondered if my rib cage could contain my aching heart. But, this voice of experience will tell you, along with the apostle Paul in Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
It is not easy, but it is so worth it.