This is a post I wrote on one of my long layovers from Greece back to Chiang Mai:
It’s been ages since I’ve blogged. It’s been one of those years where writing that was once therapeutic seemed extremely elusive and didn’t come as naturally. I’ve been tired. Weary. It’s been one of those seasons where God has led through closed doors, not open ones. And to be perfectly honest, those seasons are some of the hardest in which to keep hoping and dreaming and having vision.
I just gave my one year notice to Ransom Ministries in August after much wrestling and uncertainty. This has been my home for the last four years and I love it in Thailand. The country and culture that captured my heart the first time I touched down seven years ago has even more of a grip now than ever as I’ve lived here, learned the language and poured into the people. I love these people and this place and I can’t imagine leaving it. But I’m tired and not doing super well physically, so through some gentle nudging from my dad and my Father, I’m finally seeing that this season is drawing to a close for me, hard as that is.
It’s like an identity crisis, really. I find myself wondering who I am outside of being a missionary to Thailand, and if I really am secure in who Jesus says I am outside of that. And I don’t always like what I see.
In the midst of the season of closed doors, one day I got an email that was another nudge from God towards the refugee crisis in Greece. And this is just one thing in a long list of things God has been doing this year for me, bringing some amazing opportunities to me, and just all together showing me more of His heart for me. When my dreams are broken, He brings new ones to light, and they’re way better than any I could have hoped for.
Enter Greece into my picture of broken dreams. This past year has been what could look very ”unfruitful” to my human mind. What it has felt like has been us reaching out and longing to help and offer hope, but the people that we’ve been reaching out to have pretty consistently been rejecting what we’re offering. That kind of ministry is what you call draining, you know? No matter how much you remind yourself that it’s not about results, that we’re called to be faithful and not necessarily successful, it’s still hard and after awhile it takes its toll on you.
Over the past year I’ve been hearing stories about the refugee crisis and the camps in Greece. I thought how much I would absolutely love to be able to go help with something like that, but I’m already serving in Thailand, right? So, basically, impossible. God smiled and said, “think again.” During a period of time that several team members were going on furlough, nothing much was happening in the ministry, I get this email and instinctively knew that I couldn’t dismiss it. I prayed that if I was supposed to pursue it, my director would bring it up while I was at their house (they were leaving for furlough that day so I figured he would be too busy..heh…think again!) and he did. I prayed that I would be able to go over a specific period of time, and got the go ahead for that from the ministry in Greece. I prayed that my brother could go along, and what the world….he could!!
So I just got done spending the last month on the island of Lesvos, Greece and getting a glimpse of what God is doing to draw the nations to Him. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I firmly believe that God’s ultimate plan for the earth is and always has been to glorify Himself so that the nations of the earth will be drawn in worship to Him. This is why we’re here. And this is what’s happening in camp Moria, as all of these people from so many different nations are together in one place. There is tension, hopelessness, despair, and fighting when you get so many different nationalities trying to live in close quarters. Never before have I been in one place that had so many different nations represented! It showed me that we are all, in spite of our differences, so much the same at our core!
So I was only able to come for a month—that’s just what was available for time given to me by Ransom. And right now I’m sitting here thinking that it was incredibly too short. I feel like I was only just getting started. I’m asking questions like, why did God bring me here? What did I even do? Was it worth it?
Last night I said tearful goodbyes, and my heart wrestled with the reality that so many of my new friends I may never see again on this earth. I wrestled with why God would bring me here for such a short time to love these people who have such instability in their lives already, only to have yet another person walk out of their life. Why does He choose to work this way?
This past week tension in the camp reached extremes, and someone set fire to a tent, which spread and destroyed so much. Some parts of camp were untouched by the fire, but many people who had so little already, lost all that they had as the fire took out several housing sections. Why did God choose to have me be there in the middle of all of that chaos and loss when I’ve never faced that kind of devastation in my own life?
I don’t know why God chooses to put His people where He does, and for certain times, and in situations that make no sense. But I do know that He’s good. So, so good. And working in ways unimaginable to my little human comprehension.
This week He kept taking me back to Isaiah 40.
The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:
5 And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
There it is. His glory being revealed through Jesus in the middle of all of the awful stuff that’s happening all over the world right now. He’s bringing redemption to so much of this messy stuff, and He’s giving us the chance to be a part of it. Seriously, right now? This gives me hope. Hope that it’s all so much bigger than my little picture and the fact that I only had a month to pour out His love in Moria. Somehow He can use that, and for some reason that was just what He wanted to happen and how. Hope that the friends that I made and hated to leave are loved by Him so incredibly much and are in His care.
He taught me more about His heart for His people—and that He’s not calling me to come and take away their pain, but to offer Him is the answer.
So while my heart is hurting after all of the goodbyes, I’m also incredibly thankful and refreshed through this experience.
Greece was one of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever been too…here’s a few pics to give you a glimpse.
And I could post so much more, but that’s all for now!