I’d never been inside the 10/40 Window before. While I could imagine the things that I would face during my 12 weeks overseas, I never thought homesickness would be the one thing that shook me to the core. But, it did.
It was a physical ache that seemed to always arrive around dinner time and would last through the night. In the first few weeks I’d wake up in the morning and find tears on my pillow. I suppose it was because I was dreaming about my little nephew. I just missed him so much and knew that my leaving to go overseas for 12 weeks meant that his little life changed drastically. He went from staying home with me every day to now having to attend daycare.
I realized that I had only ever thought about the sacrifices that I myself would have to make in going to North Africa. Things like new culture, new language, no washing machines or microwaves, and of course giving up Chick-Fil-A and Starbucks. When I actually went overseas, I realized that I had never before thought about the sacrifices that my family would have to make.
A few weeks into the program, I wasn’t sure I could keep going on. Although we were getting along fine, my team and I hadn’t jelled the way I had hoped. My homesickness felt all consuming at times and it just seemed easier to want to go home than it did to want to stay.
My Mentor encouraged me to seek Dad and to discover where this desire to flee was coming from. Was it the enemy trying to lead me home and therefore throwing cold water on my dream to serve Dad long-term overseas? When she lifted for me, she asked Dad to be the loudest voice I heard, and for me to gain clarity and wisdom. She also asked Dad to give me the strength to take one baby-step forward, and then asked that He would take the second step for me in order to continue that forward motion.
She then let me talk to my nephew and I was able to see with my own eyes that he was his normal, happy, content, and playful self. My fears of his sadness were actually unfounded!
As I processed all I was feeling, I shared it with my teammates. They were extremely loving and supportive and spoke words of life over me. That night changed our team. It was as if we all realized that instead of working together as a team, we’d all been working as individuals. Once we began working and communicating as a team, we became a family. We began seeing past the little things that bugged us about each other and began focusing on the things that we had to learn from each other. While it didn’t remove every single bump in the road, it did help to eliminate my homesickness as I went to my new family to Lift for me and have help in giving my burdens to Dad.
My remaining weeks with the program went so far beyond anything I could have hoped or prayed for! One trip in particular that we took was to one of the harshest environments in the world—and I fell in love with it! Because of language barriers, I wasn’t able to communicate with the few families we met, but I sat for hours with our local guide asking him every single question I could about the people and that part of the country. With every answer I fell more and more in love with that particular location on the planet; a location that I never thought I’d ever be in. I felt like I’d come home! Now I can’t wait to see what God is going to do with this desire in my heart to go back.
I’ve learned that when I’m willing to take my hurting heart to my Heavenly Father, He gives me the strength to fall to my knees instead of fleeing. And when He did ask me to fall to my knees, and I obeyed, His blessings were un like any I’d ever experienced! I may not have hands-on tangible things I can show you, but my heart was blessed in ways unimaginable. My final weeks with the program were some of the best weeks of my life and I wouldn’t change a thing.