Brad and I were hanging out one evening after our kids were in bed wondering why we were so dissatisfied climbing this ladder of the American dream. Where did we fit in this life? We felt like such outcasts. Where did God want us in all of this? We owned successful businesses and could buy nice things for our house. Everybody wants that and it’s totally normal — so why were we so unsatisfied? What was wrong with us?
We decided if we felt this unsettled, God was urging us to change something. So we began to think all sorts of crazy thoughts. Let’s leave America! Let’s go live a simpler life and not follow the American way. How can we serve God actively as a whole family? We wanted to instill in our kids what the gospel really means. We had this burning thought that there had to be more than just going to church on Sunday and returning to our individual lives for the rest of the week. We tried to pray and become involved, but we were longing for even more. So that night, as we sipped on our wine, we wondered if families could ever be missionaries. The thought was so exciting we had to jump up immediately and check with google. And Family Missions Company popped up right away.
So I did what seems like a lot of other missionaries I’ve talked to have done. I devoured the entire website and all the blogs I could find. I began to think back on our lives since we were married and began a family, and if this were true, if God really did want us to be missionaries, then so much of what we had gone through suddenly made so much sense to me. All the traveling back and forth through the years, learning to live simply, having a strong desire to detach, when our hearts were moved as we bonded with the locals on our honeymoon… I just sat there and thought and thought in wonder if this could be what God was preparing us for.
We talked about it on and off since that night. This went on for a few years. It became very painful for me, as I was convinced right away this was where God was leading us, and sometimes Brad would agree and be excited about it, and sometimes he would push it away. I had to wait and wait while feeling this calling so strongly. I began praying for God to take this desire away from me. If Brad was not on board, then it wasn’t going to happen and I wasn’t going to pursue it.
Despite praying and trying not to talk about it, I realized the desire was becoming stronger still and I couldn’t help it, and I finally convinced him that we should bring our family on a mission trip to discern. He agreed, I think partly because he knew if we didn’t check into it, it would never go away! I was pushing for a specific mission trip to Mexico, but it came and went. Then one night Brad was at church alone and heard a missionary from a ministry in Haiti asking for help. That night, in total confidence, he said “I know where we need to go. Haiti.” What!? Why Haiti? Well let’s pray about it, that seems like such a big first step, I had said, but he shook his head and said, “I don’t need to. We’re going to Haiti.”
I was still nervous to bring our five kids to Haiti for our first mission trip, so we decided to pray for a sign from God. Not long after that we were vacationing with my family at a cabin and had gone to mass on the Sunday shortly after we arrived. As we were walking out of mass, Brad and I headed for the door and at the same time saw a huge sign with big black letters on it that simply said “Haiti.” We just looked at each other. I guess that’s our sign then!
We went to Haiti last March, and we have another post describing our trip, but I’ll just say here that what happened on a spiritual level there was pretty indescribable. The amount of peace we felt flood our hearts while we were there seemed like God was telling us this is where He wanted us in all of this. Maybe not necessarily in Haiti, maybe so, but definitely in this calling.