My family and I are about to join back with our Campus Outreach team and family in less than 10 days and we are extremely excited.. For the past five years I have been a youth pastor in Georgia (USA) and have enjoyed learning about ministry, friendships, family, and my relationship with Jesus. Last Wednesday night the new youth pastor, Ryan Marcum, had a question and answer time with me to help give the 60 or so high school students some perspective on overseas ministry. I was able to look over the questions in advance, but one question only sunk in when he asked it.
“So, how do you feel you will adjust?”
I answered it with more questions.
How do you adjust to being on the other side of the planet away from so many of your friends and family? Do you? Sure, we have e-mail, blogs, skype, google video, facebook chat and groups, twitter (outgoing only), and even the old telephone, but…do you ever really adjust to not being with them in the flesh. We were made for family and community. I don’t think we do, at least not fully, well some may, but maybe Sherry and I are just weaklings. How do you adjust to a culture that is awesome, but not your cultural DNA? Take humor for example.. so many jokes get missed by me and by my new friends…now don’t downplay humor as being worthless…I am sure every great country, vision, man and mission has had it’s fill of humor. It’s a community enhancer. And how about the food? ok, I can adjust to that 86% of the way. You get the point.
In the depth of this question was really a bigger question I believe from God in which He asks me if He is worth it.
Yes, there are indeed real sacrifices that will even hurt during the greatest advances of the Kingdom of God, but He is worth it. And even better than that, He provides and fills and shows us that He is sufficient and will bring us peace, joy, love, belonging, purpose and hope. And as He becomes these things He is glorified and lifted up! I do not write this for pity. I am looking forward to having a hard time adjusting, but only if I can stay in perspective. Aren’t we all made for another country, another place? Another One? If you are a believer, then you too are an alien and stranger. Don’t lose the longings. Do not get overly adjusted. Pray for us!