It had been one week since we had landed. We were thankful for the warm welcome from those on the ground and we were enjoying the sights and sounds of our new home. Our first week was spent running errands to acquire the basics for our home, finding an apartment to live in, and enrolling our daughter into daycare before beginning our full-time language study.
Our first full day in our own place, a friend took me out to run an errand. When we returned to our new home, I was struck by the state of our apartment – half-unpacked bags, packaging littering the floors, and our daughter’s toys scattered about. “It feels rather chaotic in here, doesn’t it?” Our friend replied, “Yep, chaotic in here, and it’s chaotic out there, too.”
As newcomers to the country, we agree there are a number of things that feel foreign and unfamiliar. Traffic is fast, dense, filled with a chorus of honking, and does not seem to follow any of the rules that we are used to. Even the foot traffic as we weave through people, animals, and vehicles can feel overwhelming. Most days we have felt stretched as we try to learn a new lifestyle while attempting to function in a language we have barely begun to study.
A few hours after putting our daughter to bed for the first time in our new home, she woke up screaming. Rushing into her room, we discovered she had been hit hard by gastro-intestinal issues and a fever. In the darkened confusion of our new home, while also trying not to wake our sleeping baby, we did our best to comfort our little girl, clean her up, find new pajamas, sheets, and Children’s Tylenol in our half-unpacked bags, and rock her back to sleep.
Chaos exists not only in the world around us, but it has—at times—also crept into our hearts. As we transition into this new life, we have experienced a plethora of emotions—the excitement of being here, fascination with new experiences, the satisfaction of finally arriving in a place that we had been praying over for such a long time, incredible fatigue, and moments where we felt so overwhelmed that all we wanted was to pack up and go home.
In spite of it all, we are so thankful to know the One who brings chaos into order and who gives us peace beyond our understanding. Even in the moments when we wondered why we came, we have felt a deep-seated peace that we are where we are supposed to be. We are all familiar with the Great Commission – “Go and make disciples of all nations” but we often stop short, forgetting Jesus’ final words: “I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20, MSG). The One who called us to this place is here with us, sustaining us, providing for us, preparing the way before us. He has been at work here long before we arrived and will continue to work here long after our time is up. What an encouragement!
It is also a good reminder that we have entered a place where the majority of the people do not know our Giver of peace. Their lives are also filled with difficult moments and days. There are many who know anxiety, fear, and frustration well, but they do not know where to find peace. This is our motivation. This is why we came. We came to build relationships with these beloved people desiring to point them to the One who brings spiritual order to our hearts and lives.
Some days are joyous. Others are difficult. But knowing that the needs are great and the One who called us is faithful, we embrace this new life with great expectation!
NOTE: This story was written by an international worker in the Sand Region who wishes to remain anonymous.