This week, W reflected that he's right where he wants to be. We watched 113 Chinese being baptized at their local church: "This trip has confirmed that I am most effective teaching, and that ministry should be done by local people. The day for "Bwana Missionary" (top-down missions) may be mostly over."
I'm not so sure. Who would tell those who have never heard, in places where the gospel has never been preached, if a stranger did not enter a new community? In contrast to his feelings, this trip to China brought a sharp pang to my heart. When I said "yes" to marriage, I agreed to go into full-time missions. I was committing to partner with a man with the same call to evangelism, learning, and teaching overseas.
Instead, we ended up just across the border in the USA. While my husband developed his call and gifting as a professor, I cooked, cleaned, raised our family (homeschooled, even), taught music, and waited for him to finish his education so I could carry on with mine. (I finally gave up waiting and went back to school for my Masters degree, which seemed to spur him on to finish his doctorate as well.)
Regrets? Probably not. Life is uncertain and never what we plan or imagine. We have a good life together, wonderful children, family, and friends. Who knows if I would have seen these parts of the world alone? My husband's ministry has opened doors for both of us.
"Do you remember this restaurant? This bridge? We took this bus, remember?" W asks me as we walk through Singapore.
Nope. I live moment by moment, tagging along on travels. I forget much of where we've gone almost as soon as we leave. I'm most likely to remember the people who interact with me or are in my classes... and blogging helps. (Though I remember many more details from trips I've planned.)
On this journey of faith, we grasp hold of God's kindness in letting us make decisions. Based on choices we and others make, life unfolds. A believer submits with joy because God is building his church, regardless of where the road of life takes her or him.
Still, I was a little envious last week as I watched my Chinese Christian family in Beijing celebrate baptism, thinking of what might have been.
*The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. Psalm 19:1-4 NIV
*May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you. Then the land will yield its harvest, and God, our God, will bless us. God will bless us, and all the ends of the earth will fear him. Psalm 67:5-7 NIV
*Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Romans 12:9-13 NIV