When you think of the word Adventure, what comes to mind? A great movie, going on vacation, danger? Maybe it evokes a panic attack?
For me adventure was best seen, but not met face to face. It was safer to keep it at arm’s length. I liked the idea of traveling, but surely not living in a foreign land. I mean, come on, there is a line between the adventure of a vacation and living in a foreign country.
That of course is when at 17 I said yes to my first missions’ trip. Honestly my decision was a bit carnal, but I wanted to see a new place and feel good that I was touching someone’s life. (Such a saintly thought, I know.) The thing was, this was just the tip of the iceberg and I didn’t even know it. This is where my true adventure really began.
It was on that adventure that God called me into full time missions. Growing up with missionary relatives, I’d told God that I would do anything for him, just not missions. Yes, I know, don’t tell God what to do.
I read a quote recently that said, “We must take adventures in order to know where we belong”. I don’t know how absolutely true that is but I know that it was true for my life. It wasn’t until I had to live life completely dependent on God (in a cross cultural setting) that I began to learn who I was and where I really belonged. Sometimes the adventure can be scary, stressful or even really cool. But no matter what happens it is my utter dependence on Christ that carries me through. Sometimes living overseas can push you to your limits. It can be very scary to figure out how to navigate the emergency room in a foreign language and culture when your child breaks his arm or is ill, to live far from family and the familiar when you sometimes just long to feel at home. And honestly, it’s not much fun realizing that when you thought you were calling your gynecologist to make an appointment you actually just explained a very personal situation to the switchboard operator for the public transportation department (True confession). Living overseas can bring on more adventure that you could ever want, but the truth is, whether at home or abroad, God is calling each of us to say yes to the adventure he is purposing us for.
It is in these situations that I have learned to trust God and rely on the prayers and support of those who partner with us, because adventure is best done together. Together with God and together with one another. Praying for missionaries and giving is a way to be a part of the adventure. Likewise we can pray for one another, encouraging each other to continue in this great adventure!
Michelle and her husband, Alan, are northwest natives and are currently serving their third missionary term in Graz, Austria. They have two beautiful boys, Ethan and Corban.