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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: New Year (05/09/05)



“What lies ahead of us, Father?” The cry burst from my heart as I packed clothes into our cases. My husband and I were preparing to leave Chile after 17 years of missionary service. Returning home to New Zealand at the age of 62 was rather daunting. Would John be able to find work at that age? Things had changed since we left. Where would we fit in? We were no longer ‘pure’ New Zealanders. We were now a mixture of ‘Kiwi’ and Chilean. Strange as it may seem, it was more frightening returning to our homeland than it had been when we set off to a foreign country 17 years earlier! The way ahead looked like an unknown pathway wending its way into a dark night. It made me think of another dark night.

It was New Years Eve, and just to do something different with our family of three daughters, we decided to climb up a nearby hill in the darkness and watch the various firework displays changing our city, Auckland, into a giant lighthouse. Our daughters had scrambled ahead of us, until the youngest stopped, and with an anxious voice said,

“I can’t see the way ahead. You go in front of me, Mummy, and I’ll follow you.”

Edging around her on the track, I took the lead. With renewed confidence Rachelle continued her climb simply following my footsteps. She wasn’t worried about what lay ahead, just as long as I was leading the way.

Another night. Another New Years Eve. Another country. In the stillness of that night, the waves lapped gently on the shores of the lake nestled among the foothills of the Andes Mountains. The light from the bonfire flickered companionably across the faces of the group of missionaries welcoming in the new century. What was lying ahead for all of us? What was lying ahead for the world? It was a solemn time as we lifted our communion cups together to acknowledge the Lord of the Universe. And then as one, we saw it. Against the dark sky the beautiful constellation, the Southern Cross, sparkled down at us. That cross seemed to say…

“Don’t be afraid or unsure of the future. Remember, I have gone before. I came to earth, and died on a cross. I have made a way for you in the darkness of the night. I am the Rock on which you can walk with confidence. I am the Light to guide your feet. You can trust in Me, because I have gone before.”

As I continued packing our clothes, I felt the fear and insecurity lift from my heart. Our Lord and Saviour had gone before us! It wasn’t an unknown path for Him. He had made a way for us and as we walked in the light of His presence, we could be assured that the solid Rock was beneath us and all the promises of God lay ahead!

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Member Comments
Member Date
Teresa Oswald05/16/05
Beautiful article and very well written. My husband and I are entering the missionary field here in our own country, but in another state and culture. We are going to be helping plant churches. Your article spoke to encouragement to my heart as we face the uncertainty of a new place, a new ministry and even a new job. Thank you.
Phyllis Inniss05/17/05
Well written and encouraging article. Those who have moved from their home country to live in a strange one and even returned to their home country can relate to your feelings of uncertainty until they too put their trust in the Father who had gone before to prepare the way for us.
Karen Deikun05/20/05
I got goose bumps reading this article. How beautifully you told the story of how your past showed you a spiritual truth for the present. I loved hearing about the communion and the appearance of Southern Cross. Most of all, I was touched by the quiet voice of the Lord reassuring you that He knew the way ahead. You also wrote this article well, never losing focus. Well done!
Joyce Simoneaux05/22/05
I really enjoyed reading this article. God bless all those in the mission field and their obedience to go out to the nations. Great article!
Leticia Caroccio05/23/05
Your article evoke the sense of uncertainty and fear of blindly going to a place that is removed from our own comfort zones. It also offered the only hope one could find as they trust in the Reason for going: the Lord. Nicely done.