For I Know He Holds the Future...

We came home from overseas living and stopped being official "missionaries" a year and a half ago - twenty months if you want to be picky. For the first six months we went around in a fog wondering what in the world had happened, what we were supposed to do next, and trying to find the right words to explain to people the "why" of our life - why we stopped traveling, why we got "out" of missions, why we came back to Tennessee, why Peter took a job with his old employer. There was no quick answer. After twenty months there still isn't and sometimes that stinks. Most people don't care about the details. They smile and nod and move on. We're still trying to figure out what "moving on" means for us.

Peter was four years old when his parents decided to go into missionary service through aviation. He grew up in Peru, learning Spanish on the street while his parents struggled through language school. He loved growing up as a motorcycle-riding, barefoot missionary kid. When it was time for him to go to college, Peter decided to channel his mechanical skills into missionary aviation as well. Because I had been interested in missions from a young age, it was natural for us to assume we would spend the majority of our life together overseas, possibly raising another generation of fun-loving, story-telling missionary kids like Peter.

The reality is that we got married, decided we wanted to wait at least ten years if we were going to have kids, ended up getting "stuck" in the States with a house project for five years, and then decided that going with a "traditional" mission organization wasn't the best option for us. We came up with the idea of traveling around as mobile missionary mechanics (independent missionary contractors was how we described what we did) and then we did whatever it took to make that happen. And it worked! We traveled around the world (four and a half years, four continents, eight countries, ten mission bases, six mission organizations, and 46 states) doing what we loved, living on very little, and experiencing first-hand the joy and pain of following the Lord when He leads.

And then we stopped. People didn't ask "why" and it's probably a good thing. Twenty months later I still have a hard time keeping the cold tones out of my voice when people ask when we're leaving again. The safest response I can give is to say that we are following God. He led us overseas, then He led us back here, and if He takes us somewhere else, we're always ready to go. Doors open and doors close...we just keep walking.

Some friends recently reminded us that "people don't understand until they have walked a mile in your shoes." So true! Just as I get upset when people judge our decision to come home without knowing (or seeming to even care about) the facts...who am I to judge when I haven't been in other people's situations? After six months of crying and praying and dealing with anger and hurt, we picked ourselves back up and started moving forward with life. We haven't arrived yet, but we're getting there.

Now here I sit, almost two years after coming back home, still pondering the future. We're in the process of once again changing the status quo (stay tuned) and we're still keeping our eyes on the One who knows our future. He has always been faithful - through travels and trials, heartache and anger, in the good times and laughter, in the confusion about why we're here when we thought we would be there - He is faithful and we keep walking in the path where He leads us.


  1. I love your story. I wouldn't have been one of those who asked 'Why'. I would be the person inquiring how are you going to capsulize all you've experienced and plant it where it will grow into something even more amazing. But that's just me. The acquiescing side of me says, be patient while the analytical side of me works through all the possible combinations of what's contained in my history.

    1. Thanks, Jane. I wish I had know you then - I'm sure you would have been one of the encouragers! :)


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