Not Love At First Sight

My first visit to Honduras was harder than I thought it would be. We traveled there in June of 2014. The purpose of this trip was to see the breadth of BMDMI’s work in Honduras, meet the other missionaries we would be serving with, and basically give me a chance to see the country we have been called to. After Eric received his call to service in March 2013, we began the process of finding a sending agency, went through the application process, and finally became official missionary candidates on May 17, 2014. Trusting in God, I had made the commitment to go, sight unseen, much like missionaries of the past.
During our orientation in Hattiesburg, the day before we flew out for a week-long stay in Honduras, we were told a wife must have her own ‘call’, that God will call both spouses. I didn’t understand why this was important. I had felt a strong inclination to serving the Lord oversees since committing my life to Jesus Christ in 1998. I was thrilled when Eric told me God had unmistakably told him to GO! Now I was questioning whether or not that inclination counted as a call.
The week was emotionally and mentally exhausting. It didn’t take me long to realize I wasn’t on a vacation, or an adventurous short term mission trip. While I was standing on a raised platform, overlooking a small dusty Honduran town, I thought to myself, “So this is it.” This was the land I had committed my life and lives of my children to over a year ago. My romantic mental picture of missionary life was quickly dissolving into a disorienting torrent of unfamiliar customs, terrifying lack of traffic rules, unsafe water, police with automatic weapons, and the total inability to read any signs or communicate with any of the people God was sending us to minister to. I was discovering  blind faith is sometimes easier to have than faith in the face of huge obstacles. I had expected love at first sight, but I felt lost. My head was spinning with the anxieties of how I would care for my family and find my place in this foreign land.
Through the rest of the week, we traveled many places, met wonderful fellow workers, and saw how God worked through them. All along the way, we kept asking the Lord to speak to us. On the second to last day of our visit, we were at the Good Shepherd Children’s Home. We were having a great visit, when I got mad at Eric over something silly. I think he said something I didn’t like or didn’t say something I thought he should have said. Silly, I know, but I was a little stressed not yet having heard from God about “my call.” I found myself angrily thinking, “I came all this way for you, and this is how you treat me!” I was taken aback by my own thoughts. I immediately understood why I needed my own call. In the face of the trials which are sure to come, I have to be certain this is God’s will for all of us, not just Eric. I wanted some time away from him, so I walked over to the playground, where the children were wrapping up a visit from a mission team who had stopped by on their way to the airport. I was able to see the children after the team left, and my heart was filled with compassion. I thought to myself, if I am going to be in their lives, I want to be there for the long haul. In that moment, I felt the comfort of the Holy Spirit saying, “I can use you here.”
It has taken me a while to put this into words and publish it. I was a little embarrassed at how difficult the trip had been for me. I heard several men at BMDMI’s annual conference in December 2014 speak of how their own initial experiences in the country had been difficult, if not horrible. These were men with many years of wonderful, faithful, abundant-life service behind them in the field. It was after listening to them share their experiences that I understood that believing it should have been ‘love at first sight’ was an error on my part. It is my hope that sharing this experience will be beneficial to someone else. Thank you for joining us on this amazing journey. – Christy