Of Mice and Missionaries

by Anisha Hopkinson on January 8, 2016

of mice and missionariesThe tinge of worry first appeared at the beginning of December. I shoved it to the back of my mind and determined to think positively. By the second week of December, I alternated between sobbing in the shower and struggling to control the intense anger raging in my chest.

“If this does happen,” I told my husband, “I need to go home. I need a break. I am so angry. I can’t cope. I just can’t.”

December wasn’t supposed to be plagued by worry and anger. I had been looking forward to the holidays for months. For the first time in several years we were finally settled and feeling at home. We bought a Christmas tree and hosted Christmas parties. My parents were flying in from America for two weeks. We planned to celebrate Christmas in our home before heading to Bali to ring in the New Year together. We’d saved up all year for this vacation and were thrilled for two weeks of beach lounging, swimming pools, shopping, and hamburgers. After working flat out for a year, we were ready for a break.

But by mid-December, all our plans stood a pretty sound chance of being cancelled. Our visa would soon expire and it appeared that the renewal wouldn’t be completed in time. We were looking at the very real possibility of having to leave Indonesia and camp out in a neighboring country for an indefinite period of time while starting a new visa application.

Would our much anticipated vacation be ruined? After not seeing my parents for 2 years would we have to leave them while we tried to sort out visas? What if new visas were denied? Would we be able to return to our much loved home and continue serving? What about our chickens, dogs, and cats? What about all of our household stuff?

As our visa expiry date drew closer, hope snuffed out. My parents arrived and we tried to make the most of our time with them. While anger, grief, and worry took over our minds, we did stuff like this…

Texas GPs to Papua

We look so happy. We were falling apart on the inside.

Then suddenly it clicked. I’d bought into a lie.

You see, it took 10 years before my husband had the flight and maintenance qualifications and experience necessary for us to join our aviation ministry and all the support raising, ministry classes, and language school were completed. 10 years. A decade of making every decision based on a future in missions. While friends bought houses and settled down, we rented apartments, accumulated few belongings, paid off debt, and saved as much as we could.

I’d come to believe that somehow, after all the work we’d done, our future in missions was guaranteed to us. I mean, surely after all our sacrifice and hard work God wouldn’t allow everything to fall apart after only one year. It’s not like we did all this for ourselves. We did it for Him!

What a great big, handicapping lie.

The truth is that God didn’t call us to this country or to aviation or even to missions – He called us to Himself and asks us to lay aside our own plans to trust and embrace His.

The truth is that God didn’t guarantee our future – He gave us this present moment and told us not to worry about tomorrow.

What great big, life giving truth!

While my future in a country I’ve come to love remains unclear (and I hope and pray I get to stay), I am very aware that none of this really ever belonged to me. Living and serving internationally today is a gift and a privilege, not my God-given right for tomorrow.

Our future, dear friends, is not guaranteed. We have something much, much better! We have Christ, and all of life’s moments – past, present, and future – are His.

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”
Matthew 6:35, The Message

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About Anisha Hopkinson

Anisha was born to Chilean and Texan parents, first tasted missions in Mexico, fell in love with an Englishman in Africa, and now lives in Indonesia. She journals about cross-cultural life, helping people, and loving Jesus on www.namasayamommy.blogspot.com
  • Ugh, I know that period of uncertainty and future-fogginess very well. I hope everything sorts itself out soon. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your story here with us.

    • Anisha Hopkinson

      Thanks so much for your encouragement!

  • Oh, yes!!! We gave up my husband’s dream job, our very settled life, our awesome home church, our beautiful house to move overseas. And when things were tough the first few month (we had what they call “a hard landing” with partners returning to the states 2 weeks after our arrival and no in-country support), I found myself believing the same lie. I love those verses in the Message translation! Thank you for sharing this; it’s so good to know I am not alone in my feelings. Praying you can return!

    • Anisha Hopkinson

      Sometimes the Message says it so well! And you are totally not alone 🙂

  • Anisha, this is such a timely reminder for us! Three years in and coming into a very critical visa time. Thank you for this, for your honesty and for your wisdom!

    • Anisha Hopkinson

      Sincerely hope your visa process goes smoothly!

  • Anna Wegner

    Such beautiful thoughts 🙂 We are called to follow God, and sometimes we need to be reminded of that. He gives us a love of a certain people, country, or ministry, but it’s never our basis for hope. It’s always Him.

    • Anisha Hopkinson

      Amen to that!

  • Elizabeth Trotter

    A great, big, handicapping lie — believing God “owes” me something. Yep. Kinda sorta believing that now in one area of my life and not entirely sure how to dismantle it.

    Also, I LOVE Matthew chapter 6, always have, and appreciate it anew here in the Message 🙂

    • Anisha Hopkinson

      Amazing how we do that, isn’t it? We get our panties in a twist and believe that God is somehow failing to uphold His end of a bargain that really wasn’t even there to begin with.

      Matthew 6 is one of my favs too 🙂

  • Meredith DeVoe

    Ten years in Nigeria, and we ALWAYS feel like we are in transition. Between visa challenges, political crises, terrorism, needs of parents and kids in the US, and our own personal needs, it is rare to feel “settled”. I look forward to reading the book, which I just ordered.

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