Sometimes I feel like I’ve aged 10 years since coming to Mongolia instead of 3.
I look at this picture from the day I left.
June 24th 2014
The room I would never return to.
The home I would never return to.
The me I would never return to.
Maybe I was more carefree.
I’m still joyful, still can laugh uncontrollably and easily break out into song.
But everything has more depth.
I had never experienced suffering.
But I had never walked with a person who had truly suffered- at least not that I knew of.
I had seen brief snapshots
But it was never passed out in front of me lying on the street.
I had never looked into the eyes of someone who had been broken over and over again yet still walked on.
And it has changed me.
God has changed me.
I don’t think I’ve changed anyone in these three years to the extent that God has changed me.
One thing I’ve noticed is that many times those suffering don’t know they are suffering-especially children.
They may look normal- beautiful and talented.
Only sometimes you see tiny cracks show
A story leaks unexpectedly
A reaction a bit too strong
And you remember.
Some days are just unpleasant.
You can do the right planning
But it can still all go wrong.
Fighting same battles even after three years
Those are the days when, not only do I wonder what strange body part of what strange animal am I eating for my lunch,
But also what in the world is this thing that God has given me?
What does He want me to do with these ashes?
But then there are days full of joy.
– The big win of finding blueberries for the first time at the store
– The victory of driving across town with car and sanity in tact.
– The excitement of my garden growing
– Completing 3 levels of language study
And the true victories.
-When the kid I baptized is now bringing others to church and still going strong today.
-Words of hope I’ve been allowed to speak
-God bringing dark places in my own heart to light.
I know for many missionaries 3 years is merely a walk around the block but for me each year has been so FULL- full of immense growth, of joy, of sadness, of hopes.
If someone told me in 2012 during my first visit to Mongolia that I would be living at Flourishing Future’s community center and working with the kids at LET I would not have believed them.
But here I am and I realize that I really have put down some roots.
Some days my roots feel shallow like I could pluck them up at any moment and travel back.
The days when my relationships don’t feel close or numerous and my work seems less than meaningful. But when I stop and think of how far I’ve come it’s amazing.
I made a list of all the things I have experienced as a result of these 3 years in Mongolia and it’s quite long.
But the most important experiences are the wonderful Mongolians and other foreigners that I have met these three years and have had the privilege to call friends family and neighbors.
That and knowing God in a way that He couldn’t have taught me from another place.
These years I have laughed.
I have loved.
I have cried.
My heart has broken.
I have hoped and have been disappointed.
I have struggled and have thrived.
I have hurt and been hurt.
I have dreamed.
I have failed and I have succeeded.
I have made mistakes but I have learned.
I have grown.
And so here’s to one more year
Of thankfulness and experiencing more of God’s faithfulness
Whatever may come.