This involved lots of paperwork, meetings with missionary candidate consultants, research, and prayer about which country would be our new home. When we first contacted the missionary sending agency, Vic was a medical school student and I was teaching first grade at a small Christian school. We didn't have any children yet. The possibility of moving to a different country seemed like a wonderful opportunity for an adventure in faith.
Then we had our first child. Gazing into the sweet tiny face of our beautiful baby girl, I suddenly had a lot of specific questions related to safety and health conditions in the countries we were considering.
By the time we went to Georgia for four months of missionary orientation in preparation for the big move, our children were one and three. I had a growing list of questions and concerns. One week, the area director for our region of South America came to the orientation campus to spend time with all of the appointees preparing to serve in one of the countries under his jurisdiction.
When we had our scheduled time with him, I pulled out my list of questions and fears. I'll never forget something Breezy said during our conversation, "You don't need to worry too much. Few things are fatal." He was not discounting my concerns, and he was certainly not making light of people who face terminal illnesses and death. Rather, he was reminding me to put things into the proper perspective. He spent the afternoon sharing humorous missionary tales, reassuring us, encouraging us to trust God, and reminding us that most of the time things are not quite as awful as we imagine they might be.
During our years of missionary service, "Few things are fatal" became our motto. When we didn't have running water for a week, the electricity stayed off for days, the washer broke down, our car was stolen at gunpoint, a bomb went off a block from our house, our son's kindergarten class was sent home for the day so the janitorial staff could get rid of the tarantulas that had invaded the classroom, our living room flooded in the middle of a children's Bible class, a rooster ran through the church, and it was so hot we almost passed out decorating the Christmas tree - we would invariably look at each other, laugh, and say, "Oh, well. Few things are fatal." Those six years in Colombia gave us the joy of working alongside our Colombian brothers and sisters in Christ, connected us to an extended missionary family we still cherish, changed our ideas about what is important in life, taught us the value of diversity and inclusion, helped us recognize God is present in spaces far beyond our little corner of the planet. (And our children got to have some really interesting pets.)
One day fatal will become my reality in the form of an accident or an illness that is not survivable. But even then, when death comes, it will only be to call me home. For death is never truly fatal for those who believe in Jesus. It is just a new beginning in a new place where our perspective will be forever changed to everlasting life and unending joy.
Practical Priorities Newsletter
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