Dear International Worker,
Around nine years ago, during my first week of career service in South Asia, I walked past a store window and saw the quote from the meme I’ve shared above.
“Because I’m loving every wonderful, horrible minute of this”
I laughed. Not just because I was enjoying my first week on the field, but because I knew my service to God for this kind of life had started long before I set foot in South Asia.
Whether you’re working in traditional missions or you’ve followed another career path internationally, you can probably identify with some of the feelings I had in that moment. The blessings and challenges of your work began long before you stepped off a plane in another country. Moments of preparation, sacrifice, joy and discouragemnt no one else saw.
For me the desire to travel and share Christ began early in life, but I didn’t fully understand my calling until I’d completed a year in university. I was struggling with giving up what was expected to purse what I truly wanted. After that year I started making decisions to study Communication and pursue international work. I stumbled a lot, but continued even though I didn’t know how everything would work out.
After Daniel and I dated for a while and were married, we didn’t wait long to join a mission organization and began raising funds for South Asia. Over the years there have been truly incredible moments mixed with periods of intense difficulty. And all the other stuff of life in between.
So far it’s been a rewarding, simple way of living and also a complex struggle.
So why keep going in something “wonderful and horrible?”
Especially when no one is forcing us into this “strange” life we choose to label a calling and passion. Why experience the amazing things of the world along with it’s terrible realities? Because the latter will happen no matter where we live or what we’re doing. Because the good news about Jesus is true and we believe everyone deserves a chance to hear. The reasoning behind our life choice isn’t so complicated, although the surrender can be difficult. You know because you’ve felt it too.
We want to cross cultures with the gospel whether we’re making disciples in the USA or somewhere else in the world. We always want to have our hands in this type of work. It may look different depending on our circumstances or stage of life, but the heart will stay the same.
This lifestyle has become a metamorphosis (or is chrysalis a better word choice? less Kafka-like?) I love the people I’ve met. Whether the circumstances of relationships were enjoyable or painful- God has used all of them to change me. I love the person I’ve become. There’s still more adventure and heartbreak ahead because the journey’s not over. We’re lovers of learning, travel, and the “wonderful, horrible” feeling of living between worlds. We love the life God has given us.
What we have learned, the things we’ve enjoyed and suffered, I want to share with you in this new category called Dear International Worker.
Whether you’re in the first steps of your journey to the nations, have long term experience under your belt, or have transitioned to life in your home country, I hope the honesty of what I share in this category encourages you. I’ll write about fundraising, trusting God, marriage, parenting, goodbyes, teamwork, transition, and other aspects of expat life- because the experience touches every part of us.
“I’m learning” is the key phrase because I’m not an expert in anything, but for twelve years my family has been involved in international work. A little over seven of those years were spent in South Asia. We’re moving to another country soon.
I wish I could be with you in person to encourage you and hear your stories, but until then I’ll write from my experiences and share resources that have blessed my family. I pray they help on your journey.
©2017Chrissy Winslow – All Rights Reserved
Look for another post here in a few days ❤