I remember before leaving America, I heard many views on a missionary’s calling.  I was in some missions graduate classes at the time.  One opinion even said; “make sure you are ‘called’ because if you aren’t as soon as it gets rough you will want to come home”.  I was confused by that and it seemed that making sure I was “called”, seemed scarier than obeying the path before me and going. 

So, when the discussion arose in my missions’ class, I shared my non-calling philosophy.  And now when people ask me, “Have you always wanted to live overseas???” this is what I say:

“I think I have had more of a non-calling to missions, in the sense that I never felt limited in where I should live.  I never felt called to any particular place, so why not live anywhere in the world? My parents raised me to be very independent and to think outside the box.  In other words, they didn’t want me to feel like I should live within a 50 mile radius of them or from where I grew up.  So, I went to college, moved to a new city and felt like the world was my oyster!  Ironically enough, however, I never left Texas.

And then I met Paul.

On the first date he told me that he wanted to work as a surgeon overseas.  That disclosure didn’t faze me.  He kept asking me out and I kept saying yes.  Eventually, we were married and I told him he could go anywhere in the world, but I was going with him. And I was excited about what those adventures would look like.  After we visited a PAACS hospital, we knew that we would work with the PAACS residents and their families.  And we moved to the greatest area of need at the time, which was Soddo, Ethiopia in 2008.” 

When we moved, it was hard, there was mourning of left friendships and places that were missed. There were complications of learning a new culture and language, but challenges exist in moving to any new city, right? So why limit yourself?

The truth is, it is hard.  Trust me, it has gotten “rough”.  But “calling” or not, we make the decision to stick it out and commit. I play out the steps in my head that get us back to America and its still life.  It still has challenges and heart aches. So, we live it out and so do you. Every day.

The weirdest part to me now? Is that this life of straddling 2 cultures isn’t normal for so many people.  We drive by the donkeys in the middle of the road, and watch the grass huts pass by. We help many get by with so little, we help thousands get medical care that we take for granted. We eat injera and wat on a huge shared plate. And we constantly think and talk in 2 different languages.

Learning about different cultures and traditions is a beautiful thing, from your own home or by traveling afar. I would hate for you to miss out. The world is your oyster. Explore.