Written by an Overseas Goer
When I left Des Moines four months ago, I had no idea what to expect. I’ve always lived in Iowa close to my family, friends, and church. But as my plane took off from Des Moines, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace. By God’s grace, I was taking another step in the direction of church-planting overseas.
Since then, many things have changed, and at the same time a lot has remained the same. At school I wake up early to spend time with God before my day begins. I have breakfast with my classmates, go to class, have a language session with my language helper, run errands, try to make friends in the community, and many other things. Life, even in the midst of a global pandemic, has a rhythm and a sense of normalcy, not because of circumstances necessarily. Our campus was “quarantined” for a total of a month during our first semester, not to mention the “COVID spray” that some restaurants have you walk through to enter and the “COVID fumigation” that happens to our dorms once a month. Life certainly isn’t normal if we’re talking about circumstances. But it is “normal” in the sense that school has simply been another opportunity to put into practice all that I’ve learned at home through being an active member at Walnut Creek. I spend time being intentionally involved in the lives of my friends around campus, seeking to “…warn those who are irresponsible, comfort the discouraged, help the weak, be patient with everyone” (1 Thessalonians 5:14). I regularly get time alone with the Lord, and I gather with others to worship Him and pray with them. I go out and try to meet new people and make new friends.
There are of course some major differences between life in Iowa and life where I’m living right now. In Iowa I can order food without any confusion. I can drive my car whenever I want wherever I want. I don’t have to depend on taxis, and I don’t have to overpay because I don’t know the language well enough to negotiate prices yet. Overall, in my own city, I feel some sense of strength and control. Where I live, I feel pretty vulnerable. But day by day I am learning to navigate the city better while simultaneously learning more about how to trust in the sovereignty and goodness of God. Every day I am praying He uses my time at school, His Word, and everything in this season of life and beyond to further conform me to the image of His Son. I have seen Him answer that prayer in many ways this semester, and as He does, I am finding He is changing me in ways I never would have expected. The process of sanctification is slow and at times painful, but I am so grateful for this last semester of school and for all the ways I have been able to see God’s faithfulness in my life, and I am excited to see His faithfulness again in the upcoming semester.