On July 12th, I celebrated being here in Paraguay 1 year and 10 months!! I was reflecting this morning especially, as one year ago today I was on a flight back home. If you recall, the Lord was gracious and allowed me to go for 2 weeks, being able to be with my dear sister and family for the birth of my niece, which was SUCH a tremendous blessing to me (and hopefully to her as well!)! So, I basically haven’t stepped foot in my homeland for an entire year now (well, minus 2 weeks). That is the longest I have ever been away from home in my life.
This causes me to think about holidays, birthdays, and family time that I have missed. I’ve missed the births of some very important babies, as well as grieved from afar some dear ones have passed. I’m missing important milestones in my nieces lives, and in the lives of the youth and families at Graham Community Church that I yearn to be there for. It is sad, and it’s really hard thinking about being more than 5,000 miles away missing out on all of that.
So here I am in South America. As I sit here in my apartment in Asunción, Paraguay, I ponder this life I now live. I think about how I have changed. Am I different than I was before God brought me on this grand trek? Or am I the same? I have noticed I don’t crave Taco Bell anymore, and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing (though, I will say I could go for a giant Turkey Grinder from Mancino’s about right now…:) )! So I really start to think, what has changed? And when I think of the answers, I am reminded of SO MANY awesome and good things that God has brought about in my life since moving here.
I can say without a doubt that the Lord has shown me so much more of Himself through this time! I moved SO far away from home, away from family and friends and everything that was familiar, and NOT ONCE did the Lord leave me. He has provided for my EVERY need. Now, sometimes He didn’t provide in the ways I wanted or thought He would, but that, too, has grown my trust in Him. His ways are perfect, and He knows best what will bring Him the most glory and me good.
One way I can clearly see Him providing is though the Paraguayan church. I have formed friendships with some of the dearest believers, and I’m not sure I ever expected that. What a BLESSING it is to be able to be a part of God’s global church! They have helped me, encouraged me, needed to forgive me, loved on me, and cared for me in ways I wouldn’t have dreamed of.
He has also given me the privilege of working alongside some pretty awesome co-workers. They too, have been some of the biggest blessings of my life! And since most of them have children, it gives me my “nice and nephew” fix, and helps me not to miss mine quite so much.
I feel each time I write I say this, but it keeps being true. Paraguay keeps becoming more and more my “home”. I enjoy the life that God has given me here. I love the love and care shown by the Paraguayan people, I love the culture, I love the sights and sounds. I am so excited to be a part of what God is doing here. And, even in the hard times, there is no where I would rather be in this earth.
As I was thinking about all these things, it was interesting that I read from Psalms 84 today. Verses 1,2, and 10 say:
How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
While I am feeling at home here in Paraguay, and I am sure that Michigan will always feel like home, that’s not where my focus should be. My real home is in heaven with Him! He wants us close to Him, and I too, realize that more and more I just long to be with Him, my Father, Creator, Provider and the Only Faithful one. But He’s got work for me here on earth.
So, I’ll keep that fire for Him kindled. I need stay close to Him so that my soul will continue to yearn for Him. I will keep living for eternity. I’m just praising and thanking God that my version of “living for eternity” means living in Paraguay, far from my loved ones, to be a part of more people growing in the knowledge and grace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. What a privilege we have that He has invited us to be a part of what He’s planning for eternity. May we always be working towards that end.