|Posted on October 29, 2009 at 1:15 AM|
While we have taken decisive steps to start the application process with SIM, with the plan of departing Australia for Africa in 2012, it is still over 2 yrs away which can feel like a long time. Anything can happen in this time! The door to going may remain open or it may close.
One of the things that I have learnt in my role as a project manager at work is the need to constantly look out for "obstacles" that may stop or hinder a project from progressing, and to take the necessary steps to overcome them. I think this lesson is also true for this journey towards the mission field too, but the only difference being that God is the one in control and He directs the steps. However, the exciting thing is that He invites us on this journey and gives us the wisdom and capacity to plan; and the courage to take the steps to get to where He wants us to go.
One of the obstacles (or should I say challenges to put it more positively) that we will face is our parents. For Jo, this is not an issue as her mum is very supportive of our decision to go. My parents on the other hand will be more challenging to deal with. I know full well that my parents will not be supportive of this move to uproot our family and go to Africa, especially now that we have kids and they love these precious grandkids to bits!
Prior to going on short term to Ethiopia about 8yrs ago - this was when I was still unmarried and just finished uni - my parents basically told me not to go and not to even bother with "backward" places like Africa. Being in my family, when something is a big issue it often involves the wider extended family. On this occasion my grandmother was informed and she called my uncles to try to persuade me that it was a bad idea to go. It was a real discouragement and at times I had to bite my tongue and not get frustrated explaining myself over and over again! Nevertheless, I found encouragement from my two older brothers. One of them even gave me a generous sum of money towards the trip.
I remember after the Ethiopian trip when I came home, Dad had written me a lengthy letter to outline the reasons why I should not consider doing mission work for the rest of my life. I love my dad and I know he has good intentions but there are certain values and passions that we do not share. Like many other Asian parents, for their children to having a good education and a good job that generates a good income and reputation, was very important to them for they want the security of knowing that they will be looked after in their old age. Dad tried to convince me that becoming a career missionary would be a waste of my private high school education and a waste of my engineering degree! I have kept that letter, and its contents still remains clear in my memory to this day. It serves as a reminder to me that serving God will involve putting Him first above our desire for status and financial security. Convincing my parents of the generous provisions of God for me and them to release me to do His work will be perhaps the biggest obstacle to overcome.
It has been eight yrs since that letter, and nothing has been said about missions. Mum and dad perhaps thought it just just a passing phase that I went through and that I've probably come to my sensesnow that I have kids. Driving home from college today, I thought to myself that breaking the news to them in a years time about quiting my engineering job and going to Bible college would be a difficult one! I have mixed feelings about telling them for it will be an emotional struggle but at the same time I know it will also be a great opportunity to share my faith with them and tell them of the grace of God which will be sufficient for the road ahead.
If you are family relative reading this, please do not tell my parents of our mission plans as I would like to tell them myself rather hearing it from someone else. We plan to tell them in due course. Thanks!