For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. [O LORD of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!]
Conjures up visions of yurts and herds of yak milling around, doesn’t it? Life feels pretty nomadic for our Global Partners: setting up home in a friend’s basement for the six weeks of furlough, missing the dog who was left with kind neighbors. Maybe he’ll be alive when you get back. Maybe he’ll have run away. Living out of a suitcases, losing that blankie that got left on the plane from Tokyo.
Making decisions :: will we get our visas? Should we have the baby here or in the US? Will something go wrong, like last time? What should we do about school now that the homeschool helper has left?
Saying, "goodbye" :: to the family who came to live in your town, whose 6 year old became instant best friends with your 6 year old who has had no same-age friendships for 3 years…….and they go on furlough just before you get back – so you won’t see them for almost a year.
Saying, "hello" :: to grandparents and cousins your kids barely remember. It hurts that they are strangers. To kind and faithful supporters who you hardly know - you love them and want to share yourself with them in the short 2 hours that you have at their home, or church….
Saying, "huh?" :: to that word that the checkout clerk just used. You’ve never heard it before…was it English? You feel so out of place.
It’s a nomad’s life. It’s full of friends from other tribes – Kazakhstan, Hong Kong, Zimbabwe, the Philippines, Russia, Senegal. Worshipping with them is a joy and amazing blessing.
It’s a life full of challenges: the losses, grief, homelessness, moving, missing family , transitions. All these pile up on top of each other over time. Sometimes they become so almost too heavy to bear.
But our Global Partners often say they wouldn’t trade the life God has given them for one that’s not nomadic. They know God’s faithfulness surrounding the moves and loss. His provision in the great apartment they just found right in their target people’s neighborhood. They see his steadfast love reaching to the skies over Pakistan, or Indonesia, or Chile. They know him in it all. And they are grateful for this nomadic existence because it’s shown them God himself.
“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:7-8 ESV)
Home. Is it there? Or here? Or is it wherever you are right now?
Written By: Ruth Bauman, Downtown/South GO Team Member
Based on a number of recent interviews and correspondences with Bethlehem's Global Partners.