Everywhere we go, people tell us that they admire us and could never do what we’re doing. I know that most people see what we’re doing as a huge sacrifice. I can tell you, honestly, that we don’t see it that way. We see moving to Ethiopia as a privilege. We truly are excited to go and to serve and to continue to follow God’s direction in our lives. That being said, there are a few things that we have “sacrificed”. None of them are life threatening and they really weren’t all that hard to sacrifice, but once in a while we do miss these things. It’s all worth while and our excitement over getting to Ethiopia totally overshadows any sadness over what we’re missing, but I would be lying if I told you that there is nothing we miss about our life before missions. Here are some things we miss:
- Our home — it was larger, more comfortable and had a great play space in the basement for the kids
- Our neighborhood — the kids across the street were such great playmates for our kids
- Friends — when you move away, people tend to quickly move on
- Having a job — well, I (Betsy) miss having a job, Chris is still working 🙂
- A home church — we miss being connected, having a great class for our kids and serving
Probably the hardest two to give up have been the friends and our home church. Since relocating for our last 6 months of itineration, we really don’t have any local friends. I have one friend who enjoys meeting me half way every once in a while for a night out, but that’s about it. We had a couple of people come visit over the summer, which was lovely, but if we want to catch a movie with some friends or just invite someone over for dinner…we don’t know anyone here. There doesn’t seem to be any great point to finding new friends. It takes a while to make them and we know we’re leaving in a matter of weeks, so it really just seems futile, but we miss having friends nearby. Of course, once we get to Ethiopia we will be living by some of our very best friends and will make new ones there, so this is just a temporary sacrifice although we will always miss some of the very special friends we had in Marshfield. Leaving people behind is one of the requirements of missions. We have been so fortunate not to have to miss my family. We’ve been closer to them here than we would have been in Marshfield, so that’s a huge plus–especially for our kids.
As for the home church, every Sunday we’re in a different church and they’ll announce awesome outreach events that are coming up and we feel like we’re missing out since we can’t participate in them. Our own home church has some great events coming up, but we can’t go to those either. We miss that. We miss taking our kids to a consistent Sunday school class each week where they see the same friends and feel comfortable. I miss leading a Bible study and being more deeply involved in ministry. Again, this is just temporary and we will reestablish these things once we’re in Ethiopia, so even though this has been our hardest sacrifice to make, we know that it is just for a short time so it doesn’t at all make us question what we’re doing or where we’re headed.
Basically, these sacrifices are non-isssues. I don’t want ANYONE to feel like we’re doing something great by giving up these things. We’re not. We know that God has called us to this and He’s got us. We are secure in knowing that these sacrifices are small issues in all of life. It is only our humanness that causes us to feel any sadness over these losses. I don’t ever want to mislead anyone into thinking that every step of this journey has been lillipops and rainbows, but I want to make sure that everyone knows that we don’t mind the small sacrifices–especially when we keep the big picture ahead of us and realize that God is up to something HUGE in the country He is calling us to. There are some small sacrifices involved for sure, but He sacrificed so much more for me.