Living in a new place
Adjusting to a new place takes time and a guide
If you are missionary and living abroad, it is helpful to remember that you are not the first one to do so. About 4000 years ago, Abraham, with no GPS left his family and everything he knew at age of 75. He had one reason for doing that: obedience to God. Abraham believed God and pursued His voice for 25 years before he received the promised son, Isaac.
The writer of Hebrew said..
“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” Hebrews 11:8 NIV
Daily we act on faith. We sit down at our desk because we believe the chair will be able to hold us. We fly from place to place believing there is safety procedures in place to take us across oceans. These actions of faith comes easily because we have seen it done over and over. But that is not always the case. Sometimes we face a new adventure with no or little information or opportunity to see it in action. God usually leads us onto a new path- one that doesn’t fit our minds or imaginations. It’s always a faith stretching experience and the big picture only becomes clear once you have taken the step of faith. Have you noticed this as well?
Another great example from the Bible is Joshua. Joshua took the responsibility of leading the Israelites to possess the promised land. His new role started by facing the full Jordan river. He might have wondered “is this in my job description?”. It seemed impossible to try and attempt it. But I like the way God prepared the Israelites to cross the river because it was not something they know how to deal with it..
“….After three days the officers went throughout the camp, giving orders to the people: “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the Levitical priests carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before….”
If you are in a new place, you are eager to get a guide. A trusted friend, co-worker or google/Siri. You name it. There are many reasons for this:
- Emotions goes up and down frequently
- Learning a new lifestyle and culture is tiresome
- Missing family, friends, and the good things you know in your country.
- Not everybody will understand you in conversations or vice versa.
- You are vulnerable to be taken for a ride as you depend on people and google about everything
- And you might experience worldview clashes and cultural shock
The list can go on and on. But as it was true in the past when God spoke with Abraham with the stars of the sky and sands of the earth, and the Israelites with signs and wonders, God is still alive and active guiding and caring for His children as we adjust and learn new places.
Faith is embracing God’s Word as it is and acting on it even if it doesn’t make sense. The last 6 months I have been exploring, learning and raising ministry support to live and do mission in Orlando, FL. It is not easy! But at the same time, it is great to see God always at work despite my challenges. I have learned these three lessons:
- It’s okay if you feel homesick or have low emotions.
- Stand firm with focusing on your purpose for being away from home, and do not depend on your feelings. Keep the purpose for your mission before you all the time and remind others about it constantly.
- Embrace a new community: small groups, church, etc.!
“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.
How are you demonstrating your faith and obedience in adjusting to God’s call in your life?