Seven years ago, if anyone had asked us where we would be today, the last thing to cross our minds would have been here, working in Ukraine among unreached ethnic Romanians. We never could have imagined that our future would turn out like this. We felt ready to handle almost anything—anything except a life of missions.
Our story may seem odd from many angles. You might expect us to tell about a moment when we realized we were made for mission—a tough, eye-opening situation; a call from God, a special sermon; or even a magazine article. But we don’t remember having such a turning point. The truth is that only recently have we discovered that God has been shaping our path, step by step, like wind shapes rock. It was a revelation to us that He had taken us on a trip we never would have chosen for ourselves. So our moment was actually many moments that we can only see now in hindsight.
He started by arranging for us to meet in high school. In 2008, about six months after our wedding, we started work as missionaries in our first field in Romania. We started with high hopes and high prejudices, and both were changed. At the end of our three years there, we had a lot of friends and a lot of projects. It was probably the most difficult period of our journey. Everything was new to us, so we had our fair share of mistakes and successes. We are able to see how far we got, physically and mentally, only when we stop to look back. God’s hand was in everything, and we found ourselves changed in many ways. We are living proof of God’s patience for every stubborn human being.
The project we’re involved in right now is in the Romanian areas of Ukraine. Since the project began in late 2011, it has not become easier, but it has grown on us, and we have been blessed to be integrated into the AFM family.
We have discovered that mission doesn’t necessarily mean expending great effort doing impossible things. For us, it has come to mean doing things we love and are good at for God’s glory. There is one missionary discipline we are still learning, and that is trusting God to guide every step. When we feel weak, all we have to do is look back and remember that His ways have always guided us to be our greatest blessings.
Our story may not be electrifying, but it is the story of two people called by God and slowly guided through His plan to a better understanding of life and what it should be. We have discovered that missionary work is a benefit to us even before it reaches others. We are grateful to the beautiful AFM family who has welcomed us with open arms, supported us and prayed for us in times of struggle. We know God meant every word of His promise for each of His followers: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jer. 29:11).