Ken and I sat alone in a coffee shop in downtown Charlotte two weeks ago, reflecting on our trip, sipping on lattes and eating quiche. Tamale would be so much different. Life would be hard. We had hoped for an overwhelming sensation of loyalty and love while we were there. We were overwhelmed. Just overwhelmed.
The extra time allowed by the cancellation of our trip to Burkina Faso had proven to be very beneficial. Within 24 hours of getting sick, my travel sins were forgiven, and I was on the mend, ready to travel again. The remainder of our time in Tamale had been spent in numerous conversations about logistics, where our kids would go to school, how I would earn the right to practice medicine in Ghana as a physician assistant, where we would live in a rapidly changing housing market, how we would focus on sustainability and dignity among the Ghanaians. We visited stores, schools, clinics to try and gain an image of what life would look like if we lived in Tamale.
We had a huge decision to make. Pros versus cons. Mourning what we would give up. Relishing what we would gain. Trying to see down the wide road, and the narrow road. For over an hour, we went back and forth. Which life should we live? It’s always been easy for me to have faith for someone else — to say, “of course you should become a missionary.” It’s much harder when the decision is mine.
Tamale was overwhelming. Uprooting the kids. Selling our house. Saying good-bye to cousins, aunts, uncles, and parents. Rehoming our dogs. Getting rid of the vast majority of our possessions. Saying goodbye to the comforts of America. Living a life completely dependent on God and His people. Moving halfway around the world.
In the end, we had to ask ourselves: What is most important to us? Which existence is worth the investment of our lives?
The American dream. A 3 bedroom house with a Jeep and a minivan. Two kids. Two dogs. An acre of manicured lawn. Plenty of clothes, toys, and expendable income. Comfortable jobs where sharing our faith would be easy, but lives changed would be infrequent. We have tasted the American dream and find it, well, lacking.
The life of missionaries. A cinderblock house at the edge of the desert. Two kids. A city mired in poverty and darkness that needs the light of God’s love. The need for investment is tremendous but rewarding. Sharing our faith would be difficult, but souls are frequently being transformed, and churches are growing in number and need the kind of mentoring we could provide. We have tasted what God is doing in Africa, and find it rewarding.
Ultimately, our lives are not our own. Ken and I want to live a life which is most glorifying to God, in a location where God is working in miraculous ways, and which best fulfills the Great Commission. At the end of our lives, we want to have no regrets about whether or not we could have done more to invest in God’s kingdom. There is no better life investment than one that gives our best to see others know God and glorify Him. We are overwhelmed that God would even ask us to be a part of such great Kingdom work.
Luke 18:22-29, NIV
“When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy. Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?”
Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”
Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!”
“Truly I tell you,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.””
We are moving to Tamale, Ghana.