Looking back over the past three months of my life, it all seems like a dream. Not one of those fuzzy I-never-want-to-wake-up kind of dreams, but still surreal enough for me to not believe that this is in fact my life. It has all flown by so quickly that I’m starting to get nervous about the idea of returning home. Looking in the mirror, not much has change about me. However, I’ve witnessed things that will never allow me to be the same person that I was when I boarded that plane just a few months ago in Charlotte, North Carolina.
When I left home in March, leaving my family was hard for me, but I knew that I would only be away a few short months and God-willing, they’d all be there to welcome me home. Preparing for yet another set of goodbyes, I know the conditions will not be the same. In three short months I’ve made friendships with so many amazing, God-fearing people. Without so many of whom, my life here would have been miserable. They have become my family, mixed of different cultures and beliefs, but all worshipping and committed to serving one common Savior. Because of Him, we’ve all ended up in this place with the same purpose in mind—sharing the love of Jesus with the Waray-Waray.
There are so many things I’ve grown to love about this culture, and countless things I will always despise. Living here has opened my eyes, renewed my spirit, and broken my heart. I’ve seen death and I’ve witnessed the miracle of new life. I’ve faced numerous changes of plans, setbacks, and been disappointed. Through everything, God never left me. He was always there, pushing me toward the goal—sharing HIS love with these people, so that they may glorify HIM.
Nothing about these three short months has been easy. I’m so tired of being stared at, talked about, and made fun of. I have never wanted to be as insignificant as I want to be right this moment. I want to walk into a room and understand the conversation taking place. I want to walk down the street and no one turn to stare at me. I want to play with children who don’t grab my sides and measure my legs while laughing and making comments about my size. I want a normal life, how selfish. Jesus did not live a “normal” life, He lived a perfect one. A life that, though He was without fought, ended with Him being betrayed by those close to him, He was beaten, made fun of, and spat on. He endured all of this so that I could live an eternity with Him. Why should I desire to live a normal life? How can I consider myself worthy to live a life of comfort when He went through such pain for me and gave His perfect life for me? Living here has taught me that no matter what my flesh desires, not the comforts of home or a familiar language, a “normal” life for me will forever be where He calls me. Although it may seem difficult for a time, the reward in the end is sweet. Knowing that one day I’ll be spending an eternity worshipping and glorifying God with these new Waray-Waray believers, that in itself is worth whatever trials I may face.