Brandon, my mom and I are in Seattle, WA, for the weekend for a wedding. One of my cousins closest in age to me, Patrick, is getting married today and much of my family is in town for the occasion. My father was the oldest of five and most of his siblings and their families live in different states. Before my dad and my grandparents passed, we used to have big family reunions and this wedding weekend is reminiscent of that family time.
An unexpected treat has been getting to talk with my Uncle Alan, the second oldest, about his time as a missionary. He and my saint of an aunt packed up their kids, 3, 4 and 6, to move to Thailand in the 70’s for over 7 years total. It’s been so amazing to hear about how missionary work was especially challenging then- no English, no internet or cell phones, no Google.
Last night he shared his personal view of the gospel with Brandon and I (love God, love your neighbor!). Uncle Alan’s humble reminder of the ultimate simplicity of the gospel -LOVE- was so refreshing and so timely. In two days, we fly to Swaziland to see what being missionaries would be like. Brandon and I have been to the country with our church through Children’s Hopechest. The Swazi people and CHC’s vision to help their country have resonated with our hearts and we are looking forward to how we can help long-term on the ground.
Uncle Alan’s stories reminded us that passion for your mission can make it easy in the beginning, but challenges will try to wear you down and it’s wise to be prepared for that shift. He encouraged us to keep it simple -again, Love!- and not get hung up on the details, and to remember both God’s grandeur as Lord and his humility in going to the cross for us.
Brandon brought up the point that to be successful in this trip and in ultimately moving there, we need to keep the love of the Swazis in the forefront of our minds. In the weeks leading up to this trip, we have had to focus on logistics, making sure we’ve packed everything, preparing our house and pets for house sitters, and finalizing itineraries. I’m thankful for the Lord’s divine appointment to have Uncle Alan to ourselves for an hour to be reminded of Gods love for us and the world.