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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Dropout (05/12/11)

TITLE: Lifers?
By Donna Haug



“Go to Canada!”

If a deep voice had boomed from the heavens, I think it would have been easier for my husband to listen. “Go back? Already? But we’re not done yet. This wasn’t the plan!”

Ever since we yielded ourselves to overseas missionary service, we always prided ourselves on being “lifers”. In our missions classes at Bible School, we had studied about the problem of missionary attrition. Missionaries who spend 4 - 8 years overseas have finally made some of those huge adjustments to life in another culture and have reached the point of being effective in their ministries. How sad for them to then return to Canada to stay. What a waste of a great investment, we were taught.

So, on our first missionary journey, we packed up our two toddlers and headed off to South America. Years later, our second missionary journey found us toting along 3 elementary school aged children and heading to Africa. “We’ll go where you want us to go, dear Lord!”

But, seven years after we first stepped foot on the uniquely beautiful and challenging African continent, God now seemed to be saying, “Go to Canada!”

Oh, how we struggled! Well, if I were to be completely honest, the struggling was not so much on my part. Momma’s highest priority is still her family. As long as they are there, I am content to serve the Lord wherever He places me. But my husband felt like his heart was ripped out of his chest. “Lord, are you sure? I don’t understand.” Though his head and logic demanded to be acknowledged as correct, his heart cried out in agony. “Lord, I’ve left everything I love doing. My sense of doing something that really matters has been shattered. What are you doing?!”

Even as we walk through this valley, sometimes wondering if we are turning into the statistic we always frowned on, we see God’s hand leading. We refuse to allow our children to be the ones who ever say, “My parents cared for their ministry more than me.” In these crucial days, they will know that though it cost us greatly, they are our primary responsibility right now. We love them more than our ministry.

Once the Lord gives us peace that we have cared for what we need to do, we truly hope to return to missions work. We may have had to drop out for a little while, but let it be known, when God whispers in our ears that the time has come to move on, we will thank Him for this season and start packing our bags. I may need to do a bit of reluctant running to keep up with my husband, since we will then be leaving a few children behind. But in our heart of hearts you can be sure, WE ARE LIFERS.

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This article has been read 490 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Linda Goergen05/20/11
Well written account of your family's soul searching between priorities in your life! Enjoyed.
Joe Moreland05/21/11
Not just any word, Garry, but in the middle of the word "middle"! Ha! This is great! I loved it! So out of the box that you can't even see the box from here! Fantastic job, and I bet it was a lot harder to do than it looks. I love the way you consistently change subjects by latching onto a single word that derailed the train of thought.
Joe Moreland05/21/11
Sorry! Somehow my comment for the last article got put on this one. Ignore what I've written above...and if you haven't yet read the one I'm talking about in that comment...go read it! Shoo! Go! :)
Joe Moreland05/21/11
Okay, now I read this article and can give my honest feedback on it. So, see? God has given you three comments for the price of my one goof. :)

I really like this keen insight into the life of missionaries with children. I have often wondered how difficult it is to take little ones to a completely new culture, or into potentially dangerous situations. I think that sometimes we can get so busy relaying what God has to say to others that we forget to listen to what he's saying to us. I'm glad that's not what has happened to you. God bless you for your work and your obediance.
Sydney Avey05/22/11
I think this has applications to all of us, even if we aren't missionaries. We get comfortable in our boat and God changes the course of the river.
Janice Fitzpatrick05/23/11
Although I haven't done overseas missionary work I can relate to this so well. Sometimes I have geared my heart and mind to something that I was thought was where God wanted me,only to find later that every thing has its season.
I'm learning, even at my age, that the Lord just wants us to be willing to surrender our desires and get our focus back on Him and His will. "Obedience is better than sacrifice" like that Keith Green song sang.God only wants our hearts to be open to him. Lord help us surrender everything. Thx for sharing this with us. Nice job!