Friday, October 20, 2017

How a Journey of 8,000 Miles Changed Me

Living in another country changes you.  Not only does it change your perspective, but it also changes what you value, what you spend your time on and what you're willing to do (believe me, I've done so many things here that I never planned on or ever dreamed of!).  It tests your faith to see if it's really strong.  It teaches you humility in ways you've never experienced or expected.  It gives you a glimpse of yourself that you had hoped isn't true...but it is.  It forces you to rely on Jesus in ways you never expected.

It gives you a taste of loneliness like nothing you've ever been through before.  Something like homesickness that didn't exist in your vocabulary now becomes something you struggle through every once in awhile.  Because sometimes you just want to hug mama, tease dad, kiss your sister and beat your brothers at that board game.  Things you swore you'd never miss - like that meal you always detested or that drive to work and back, you find yourself confused and surprised...because you miss those!  What is happening to the person you know you were?

And patience?  Oh yes, that's a big one.  It stretches your patience in a million small ways and forces you to stop and say, "God, You do what You want, when You want it.  I'll wait."  Then when you think you can't wait anymore, you say it all again.  And again.  And again.

Things that you considered normal, everyday kind of routines are different, new or even non-existent.   Gonna mail that package?  Carve out at least an hour of your time.  Going out for a cup of your favorite coffee?  Prepare to sit there for fifteen minutes as you use an app to try to decipher the menu.  Get lost in a new city, that could definitely happen.   Several hours later, walk into a bakery and pray that the owner speaks English or at least has a map since you didn't have data on your phone.

Then there's that thing called your comfort zone.  Suddenly as you're living abroad, your comfort zone is given notice and kicked out the door.  Now there's no such thing!  Everything that you were comfortable and okay with just went out the door too.  Now it's you and Jesus and many new (and sometimes scary) experiences waiting...

Part two coming soon!


Joanna Suich has been serving with VOICE Missions since February 2013.  As a child, she attempted to dig her way to China, but only made it two feet in before her mom called her to dinner.  Although Joanna never made it to China, God did bring her nearby to the island of Taiwan!  She has a heart for all things involving missions, orphans, juvenile delinquents and adventures.  God has placed Hualien in her heart and it's home now.  She currently is doing college online as she volunteers, majoring in social work.  If you're looking for Joanna, check the local village or orphanage and you'll probably find her there - playing, tutoring and sharing Christ's love and truth.

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