After about 7 weeks of waiting and praying we finally got our answer.
When we finished up our year and a half of missionary training in Missouri we, in faith, decided to make our leave date August 2016. At the time it seemed rather crazy and unattainable. At that time we had no home, no job, only about 14% of our monthly support and over $40,000 in student debt. Crazy and unattainable, right?
Not for Jesus.
Over this last year and a half we have watched our faithful and loving God provide in ways we never thought possible. We had some closed doors at times that had us shaking in our boots, yet God continued to move mountains for our family. He continued leading us towards an August leave date.
In June we were made aware that some of the processes for obtaining a Tanzanian work permit were changing and the procedure was taking even longer than the already long process. Later we were given a deadline by our field leadership to have our work permits by, otherwise there would not be time to obtain resident visas, purchase tickets and arrive by early August to begin our language study.
This was our deadline.
The week leading up to July 15th Chandler and I decided to commit ourselves to much prayer and fasting. We were encouraged to seek Jesus like never before and ask Him for August. We begged Him for August. However, our prayers always ended with a “but.” We knew we had to add “but whatever will bring you the most glory that is what we want. But whatever is your perfect will, that is what we want.” We had spent enough time feeding our minds with Truth that we knew this was the only way we could pray.
You see, HE alone knows what is best for us. Only HE can see the bigger picture.
July 15th was hard for me. I was edgy, sick to my stomach, and I checked my email and Facebook WAY more than I needed to. I was waiting and hoping for my YES.
At around 3 pm we received a call from an international number. A call from Tanzania. A call that would change the rest of 2016 for our family.
We didn’t get a yes.
We got a not yet.
Immediately tears began to run down my face. Our answer had come, and it wasn’t the one I was wanting to hear. I cried for the next 30 minutes or so. That heart wrenching kind of cry. However once I got that out and my blurry vision began to fade away, Jesus allowed me to begin seeing a little clearer. He began to remind me of truth.
We prayed for His will and this was very clearly it. Although we didn’t understand the full picture right then, He WAS working things together for our good and for His glory. If nothing else, I have learned through this crazy journey that my God can be trusted.
So January 2017 it is. Probably the first or second week.
You know what? In the grand scheme of things, 5 ½ months really isn’t that much. It’s 5 ½ more months to love and be loved by our sending church, 5 ½ months to love and be loved by our family and friends, 5 ½ more months to continue building relationships within our community and 5 ½ months to raise the remaining 11% of our monthly support. Oh, and 5 ½ months to enjoy some of our favorite American treats 😉
If I had to go back and re-live the last 7 weeks of waiting for our “not yet”, you know what…I would. I have learned during this time how to seek God like never before and how to trust Him with the things that I don’t understand.
He continues to grow and stretch us beyond what we think we can handle. Rather than resist it though, we are slowly learning to embrace it. In turn He is embracing us and allowing us to know Him in ways we never knew Him before.
I am learning to be thankful for half-packed boxes.