It’s fascinating the conversations you can have while traveling, with strangers as well as those in your party. This honeymoon week provided many such opportunities to converse with those outside of my normal “safe” world. Some were fascinating, some were tearful, and some may be making drastic changes in my upcoming life. All relate to the bigger picture God’s been painting in my life – shaping me into a more aware, more compassionate woman seeking Him more every day.
Tuesday night after a cold afternoon of sledding (down real mountains! It was so exciting), Shaune and I went to a café in a little tiny mountain town for dinner. As we settled in, a German woman and her American husband sat in the table next to us. We struck up a fabulous conversation about the area, as well as about global travel. It was fascinating to hear her talk about the differences between home and here, as well as the struggles she went through to become an official U.S. resident (as opposed to a student visa) without losing her German citizenship.
Christmas Eve found us invited to join the B&B owner and her friends at a small country church, with h’or dourves beforehand. My heart broke when our host explained her life before purchasing the B&B. She had been the wife of a dignitary and had lived abroad for 17 years. She and her husband lived in Peru and London before their final stint in Germany, where her husband went crazy and left her. She moved back to the States to open the inn as a way of supporting herself and starting over. As sad as this conversation was, she cheered up when she showed us her collections from Peru. She had beautiful fabric, paintings, statues, and many more little bits of memories of her favorite home abroad. I was stirred as I always am when I see mementos from abroad.
We checked out of the inn on Friday morning and went to visit my relatives in the mountains of Tennessee. Our entire visit was a fascinating conversation. My relatives spent several years in Uganda as missionaries with Habitat for Humanity. This spring, they are participating in a fundraising campaigned for Habitat and returning to the village where my cousins grew up. In addition, my dearest cousin is spending the semester in Tanzania working with the World Health Organization. We talked and talked about the joys, sorrows, blessings, and struggles of their life and raising the kids abroad (they’re both in college now).
If this all were not enough, I spent four hours drinking coffee with two Bolivian sisters on the last night of our voyage while my husband and his best friend reconnected at another Martial Artist’s home.
My husband and I have had an on-going conversation since long before the wedding about two topics: one, his love for the culture of Brazil, and two, our passionate desire to serve those less fortunate than ourselves. So far that passion has driven us to local missions such as Meals on Wheels and the homeless shelter down town. However, on the drive home through the glorious foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Shaune turned to me and asked if I’ve ever thought about serving Christ abroad as a long-term missionary. I have. I had been ready to go to Africa for a 3 month stint before I met him and other challenges blocked my path. After a pause, he once again turned to me and said, “Let’s go.” Within minutes of arriving at our home (last night) we were online searching for companies that need our skills in Brazil. We sent out an interest form and hope to hear back sometime in the next week or two.
And I thought I was just going on my honeymoon. Funny, that God we follow.