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Friday, October 14, 2016

Sometimes Returning is for Keeps

They say Finders Winners, Losers Weepers. Perhaps this time around I'm a Finder.

Four weeks ago, I emailed my family. I love writing so when I send an email, it's usually a long very descriptive epistle of every single moment in my day. In this one, I shared with them something that was heavy in my heart.

I think to win their hearts, one has to be able to communicate that they are here for more than tourism or to be able to say I've been a missionary in a war-torn country. I think one has to stay. And tonight I thought, that is what I would love to do. All those years I listened to mission stories about Asia and Africa and South America and wished hard that I would have a calling but I never did. And all those years I longed to come back to my home. 

I think it is partly the TCK desire to return home, but now I'm wondering if God used that desire to bring me back for a purpose. I still don't know if it's a short-term or long-term purpose, but I want to be open to wherever God calls me. There have been days when I thought most definitely that one year was all I could manage. When I first came, I counted off the weeks and eventually months I'd managed to live here successfully. Now I'm sad because I'm counting down the months and eventually weeks til I leave. But I can see myself staying here long-term, even 20 years, and being happy. 

There is a huge mission field out there, but it will take many years. There need to be relationships built, both on the campus and off. There needs to be joyful Christianity modeled, but we need to understand what that means to be able to share it. And it takes time. Time to show that we're not people who just come, change everything, and then leave.

When I left the US, everyone knew I was going to Lebanon as a missionary. When I arrived in Lebanon, I immediately realized that it wasn't the right title for me. I was coming back home, to one of my countries, and these were my friends I was now working together with. I struggled as I identified more with the Lebanese culture than the expat culture. And as I thought about what my purpose was here, I felt drawn to connecting, encouraging, and supporting others.

I'm likely not going to be someone who does great things that the world takes notice of in my work for God. This is okay. In My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers says in reference to Jesus' commission to the disciples, Go simply means live. In other words, the greatest calling we can have is to live as a follower of Christ. This has always been my desire and one that somehow seems to fit here more organically than where I lived before.

Today I spoke to my boss and started the process to settle. Yes, I'm not the typical ATCK who cannot bear to stay longer than 2 years in one country let alone imagine putting down roots. I want to put down roots. I want to know that here is where my heart is and here is where I will stay. I fought for 17 years with this desire when I was in the US. Then I came here and in less than 6 months I knew. . .my heart was home.

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