A Beautiful World: Through a Missionary’s Eyes

One family’s arrival in a restricted-access field reminded them of the steadfastness of God in changing circumstances.

From Message magazine issue "Restricted"

The anticipation for newness is always exhilarating.

With eagerness we await many new adventures in life, as a child might wait for Christmas morning. Our family’s move to a new country was no less exhilarating.

But with this newness also comes doubt. Fear. Worry. It can drown out the reminders of our constant and loving Father who guides us every step of the way.

One such reminder came from my son the other day. Looking beyond the horizon of our busyness, my son noticed the sunset and exclaimed, “Look! Isn’t it a beautiful world?”

We had only been in the country for a week, and it was difficult to imagine that so much had changed in those few days.

Only a week before, our family was packing suitcases and saying our farewells to loved ones. Now, we are trying different foods, learning another language, and attempting to make our new home in this place where God has called us. Everything around us is unfamiliar—the heat, the sounds, the smells, the words, the faces. It makes us cherish the familiar all the more.

We covet the daily messages and video calls from the other side of the world. We continue our favorite tradition of holding family dance parties in the living room! We are constantly presented with the reality of our changing and uncertain circumstances in light of the steadfast and faithful God that we serve. We are reminded that, though our circumstances may change, our God does not.

We pray regularly together and ask God to help us find new things to love, and to help us be brave as we are faced with these new and uncertain experiences. For us as parents, that can mean learning to drive on the opposite side of the road, or ask for a glass of water in a restaurant. For our children, it can mean making friends with other children who don’t speak the same language.

Even in the short time that we have been here, God has shown us faithfulness in seemingly small but powerful ways. Issues that would never bother us at home, like finding dinner, are seemingly insurmountable at times.

Our three-year-old son loves mac ‘n’ cheese. But just as we arrived at a local stand that served it, we realized the stand had closed. With our son in tears, we took a moment to pray together before we began a new search for dinner. To our happiness, the Lord provided through some delicious cheese-filled naan that, after a big, brave bite, brought a giant smile to our son’s face.

What a sweet grace that God gave our boy something so simple that his heart desired so much in that moment. We have had so many opportunities to teach and be taught about the One who is always unchanging and to see and feel so tangibly how much he loves his children, even in the small things.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:17)