Dear New Missionary Wife,
Almost 4 years ago my husband started throwing out the idea of returning to the mission field, and sure enough he came back from a missions trip to South Africa and said with certainty that we were headed to South Africa. I would love to tell you that my heart was elated, I wish I could say that I jumped on the band wagon 100 % and eagerly anticipated this journey. But… that wasn’t the case. I was terrified. I was heart broken. I had so many questions and uncertainties. I wondered what deputation was going to entail as a family of 7. I ached thinking about packing up our home. I already missed family and friends. The term foreign field took on a whole new meaning… everything. seemed. so. FOREIGN.
I am completely in love with husband and even more so with my Savior so there was no question in my mind that this was the journey I was going to take. I was going to pack up my family, say goodbye to all that I loved and head to South Africa.
Deputation, well, it’s what you make of it. Sure the road at times seemed long, but it was an exciting journey for our family. We met some wonderful people, we were loved by some amazing churches. Our children saw places that as a kid I only read about in books.
I saw first hand how God provided for our every need. My fears concerning routine and school and finances were unnecessary. Everything worked out fine.
Before I knew it the day that I secretly dreaded came (yeah I know that’s not what you expect a missionary wife to say). I watched my 21 green duffle bags, which carried months of sorting and packing in them, zip away down the conveyor belt.
With a broken heart I hugged my family and friends and walked through security barely able to see through the tears.
But when arriving at the gate my heart turned from dread to anticipation. FINALLY, all my questions were going to be answered. I didn’t have to wonder anymore about my future, my future was here! I looked at my kids,who were excited to be taking a plane ride (more like a plane journey to SA), and decided that just like deputation this adventure was going to be what I made of it.
I wish I could fast forward you a few years and show you that all these fears were not necessary:
I feared my children’s happiness, not remembering that God loves my children so much more then I love them. That growing up out of the hustle and bustle and materialism that America offers isn’t a bad thing. Children are resilient and adaptable. Sure they miss grandparents and Taco Bell, but also the thought of them leaving our home here makes them sad as well. They are happy.
I feared loneliness for myself, not remembering that God has promised to always be with me. That truly when 100% dependent on Him has to be the sweetest most fulfilled time in anyone’s life. God has not only offered Himself as my friend but has given me some of the greatest people in the world to spend time with.
I feared my ability, not remembering this is not about my ability. Sure language has been tough, getting outside my comfort zone has at times seemed impossible. Some days I wake wondering what do I possibly have to offer people who have so much hurt and face so many obstacles. But when I remember it’s not what I have to offer but what Christ has already offered, and what He wants to teach through me, it changes everything.
Maybe I am alone with the fears I had, maybe you have nothing but excitement going forward, but if not I just want you to know dear friend that all will be ok. I won’t lie and say everyday is full of joy and excitement: I do miss loved ones, hearing about my grandfathers death so far away was hard, this language still overwhelms me, and at times I feel like my life is on public display for all to judge and then other times I feel completely forgotten and isolated. But this I can say: I love my life. I love that just like you, I work tirelessly being a simple (haha )wife and mom. I watch my kids play sports. I cook dinner every night. I stay busy with our Allentown orthodontist appointments, pink eye invasion, homework, grocery shopping you name it.
But also God has giving me the wonderful responsibility of teaching women discipleship in Xhosa each week. I get to love on children, who this week couldn’t go to school because they didn’t have lunch money and, I have a front row seat to see all that God is going to do here in South Africa.
All I can say, is I understand the fears of the unknown, the apprehension to go forward blindly. But I just simply urge you to buckle up and enjoy this adventure. Make the most of the opportunity God has allowed you to be a part of! You may feel alone, that all other missionary wives are polished and perfect, but you aren’t alone, and we aren’t all polished and perfect.