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My First Year

Doing vs being

In the 12 months since LD arrived on the field in Southeast Asia with her family, God has taken her on a completely unexpected journey. We know you will be encouraged by this Q&A post!

It's a season like no other – those first 12 months on the field can be saturated with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Earlier this year we posted three different ‘My First Year’ accounts, each experience completely unique.

This Q&A is brimming with vulnerability, honesty, challenges and hope from LD in Southeast Asia – we hope you’ll be as encouraged as we were!

What has been the most surprising aspect about serving in this new context?

Hmmm, I’m not sure about surprising. Everything is so new and different, complex and strange. Some things have been hard but there has also been great blessing. I think that our most pleasant surprises have come when we have been open to other options than what we had first thought. For example, we really didn’t want to send our children to the school they are now attending, hoping we would be able to integrate them more into the local community. Very soon after arriving we realised that this wasn’t going to be a good option and that we needed to be open to the possibility of sending them where we had said we didn’t want them to go. This school has turned out to be one of our greatest blessings. By trying to stay open and flexible we have been blessed by surprises.
What has been the most difficult part of your time there?
In some ways I feel like I have been going through an identity crisis. One of my major expectations was that three of our children would now be in school, we would have a full-time helper to assist with the care of our eldest daughter, and I would get out of the house to ‘do ministry’. This is what my heart had been crying out for over a number of years. None of that has eventuated in our first year here. In fact, not only have I still been at home full-time but I also have a house helper doing a lot of the things I used to do at home, which is not a bad thing but I no longer felt like I was ‘needed’ for anything. I didn’t have a ministry and I wasn’t looking after my home, I began to wonder, "Who am I really and what am I supposed to be ‘doing’”? I have had to let go of the expectations of what those plans are, and walk with Him one step at a time, trusting that He has my future secured and I don’t need to worry or think about it.
Can you give us your highlight of the year?
It was to see our daughter get baptised the day after her 13th birthday. Many people had expressed their concern at taking her at such a vulnerable age. We agreed that yes, she was at a vulnerable age but that if we believed that God truly was calling us and He knows us better than we know ourselves then we have to trust Him… with everything. In some ways it was relatively easy to sell our home and rid ourselves of most of our material possessions – the harder part was, and still is, ridding ourselves of the desire to control and secure all our circumstances. What a blessing beyond anything we could have hoped or imagined. Yes she has struggled, but to be in a school environment that has nurtured her and helped her to grow through her struggles so that she has been able to grow closer to her Saviour has been an incredible highlight.
What advice would you give to friends, family, and church members in terms of how they can support workers like you?
Every little jar of Vegemite, box of Weet-Bix or packet of Tim Tams reminds us that in a land of strangeness we are not alone. Even when our newsletters are sparse, or if we don’t get a chance to personally respond to you as quick as you would like (because it is just so much more complicated with power cuts and natural disasters to work around), don’t forget us! A wise person once told me how he always wanted to be honest when he said he prayed for someone, so whenever he received an email from someone that he wanted to pray about, he would stop immediately and do it. Not long-winded or time consuming, just short, honest, immediate prayers. Don’t forget that the kids love hearing from people too, and Skype is an amazing tool these days.
What is one big takeaway that the Father has taught you in your first year on the field?
It would have to be that the most important thing is not what I am doing, but how my relationship is going with the One who sent me here. That it isn’t enough to let go of the superficial – He wants ALL of me… and that He is more than enough for whatever I might be going through. Over and over again, He has whispered to us, “It’s not about what you are doing, I’m interested in who you are being.” Over the past months as I have struggled with questions and insecurities, Jesus continually reminds me to stop, pause and just BE with Him.

- LD & RK

6/10/2014 9:00:00 AM | 0 comments
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