“Jesus wasn’t handing out tickets to heaven; he was rearranging the world around sacrificial love. He called it ‘the Kingdom of God’” -B. Zahnd
I am living an amazing life. It is not the life that I would have predicted for myself 20 or even 10 years ago. In fact, not only would I have not predicted it, I would have distinctly said that this is not the life I wanted. After all, as a devoutly religious child, I clearly remember telling God that I would do anything for him, except be a missionary. I like the creature comforts of life in a first world setting. I like living close to family and dear friends. So I have to pinch myself sometimes as I reflect on where life has led me and my family over the last two years. The best word to describe it is breathtaking. Hard, beautiful, thrilling, difficult…breathtaking.
It was three years ago that Jason came home from the Global Health Missions conference in Louisville, Kentucky with a burning in his heart to reach for something more as a doctor, and for us as a family to embark on an unlikely, unconventional journey. It was three years ago that he pulled out a PowerPoint presentation on his laptop that laid out the benefits and drawbacks of a life lived in another country. It was three years ago that I came to know, deep in the recesses of my scared little heart, that I was meant to live the life that I thought I didn’t want. I just knew. That’s the only way to describe my response to Jason’s PowerPoint proposal. My heart just knew.
And so Instead of enjoying the privilege of life as a doctor in the U.S., we decided, as a family, that we were called to something different than the American Dream. So we raised funds, packed up all of our earthly belongings, sold and donated what we could, and packed our entire lives into five suitcases. And on November 15, 2016, the five of us boarded a small plane bound for a small town in northern Haiti where we would begin this wild, breathtaking journey.
When things in Haiti didn’t turn out to be what we wanted and needed for Jason as a doctor and for the rest of us as a family, we had to regroup. Jason and I told the kids that it was time to leave the country that we had barely begun to know. And their responses surprised us even more than the shock that we were leaving Haiti — they all said that they didn’t want to move back to the U.S. They wanted to find a new place to serve as a family. As parents, this was a beautiful outcome of our experiment in unconventional living. Our children knew this was our family’s mission in their hearts too. Breathtaking.
As you all know, we found a new place to live out our sense of mission. For the past year, we have lived and worked at a hospital on the northern coast of Honduras, called Loma de Luz, or “Light on a Hill.” Here we work with a team of healthcare providers, teachers, and maintenance workers to bring affordable healthcare and quality education to Hondurans who otherwise may not have access to these things. All five of us are involved in the mission, and upon celebrating our one year anniversary of arriving here in Honduras, we all agreed to give it at least another year of our blood, sweat, and toil. It is not easy, but it is the work we are drawn to deep in our spirits. And so, amazingly, we will stay.
Just today, Jason and I and Ana and Joshua drove into the main city, La Ceiba, about a one and half hour drive from the hospital. Here is the remarkable thing about it — We drove there in our new (to us) truck, a truck that many of you donated to help us buy. It is a luxury that we do not take for granted. One of the hardest things about life as a missionary is learning to rely on the generosity of others to make a living. We have to boldly ask for money, something that does not come easily or naturally to us. But we asked, and you all stepped up in an amazing way…and so now we have a way into town each week to buy our groceries, visit the dentist, etc. This gift will allow us to continue our work here. Once again…breathtaking.
And so as we come upon our two year anniversary of our first time leaving the U.S. for our grand adventure, we reflect with a sense of awe. It may not be the life I had imagined for myself all those years ago, but it is a life filled with gifts that are precious and life-giving, not only for me and for Jason, but for our three beautiful and brave children as well. So I will bundle up all of my mixed emotions — the joys, the fears, the pains, the love, the anxiety, the sense of beauty — and I will draw in a quick breath, in awe of it all. Breathtaking.
LISA for the Comos