Surrounded by friends and family in our empty apartment, I prayed our last prayer together.
The last three days in the U.S. were filled with much love and kindness, and we were incredibly thankful for our community. There were moments when we needed help with packing, getting groceries, transportation or just some cheering up. The process of buying one-way tickets to another country, selling everything, leaving loved ones, and packing our life into 17 suitcases was overwhelming and stressful. But that is where our church community came in to help. We could not have done it without their love and support.
Some have asked us, “Why did you become a missionary?” It is quite simple: we love Jesus and telling others about Him. This decision is for my and my family’s growth in Christ. I want my children to experience and see firsthand what it is to serve Christ. When He calls, we move. After 13 years of pastoring a church, if we had decided to stay, it would have only resulted in a stagnant faith. God was calling us to the next level of faith and we could not ignore His call.
Although we were a bit fearful, we were excited to confidently move forward in Christ. The community we experienced within the church in Florida was so convincing of God’s love and His existence that I wanted others to be a part of it. I have preached many words from the pulpit over the last 13 years about going out and telling others of Christ. Now I am putting everything I have said into action.
This is my final sermon to my church. But this time, we are not using words. We arrived in Dubrovnik two weeks ago. After a nine-hour flight, a nine-hour layover in Frankfurt, a one-hour flight to Split and then a four-hour bus ride to Dubrovnik, we were tired. We arrived at 2:30 a.m., and my children were exhausted. Right before bed, my five-year-old son came to me crying, saying that he missed home and family. All I could do was hold him in my arms. I wished I could take away his pain and sadness. I asked him if he wanted to pray, and he said yes. His tears eventually subsided, and I realized this is the growth I want to see in my children. It was through prayer and reading the Word that my son found hope.
When my son came to me that night, he could have tried to watch TV or begged to play a game on my phone. He could have done what most of us do, suppress and ignore the pain. Instead, he came to me, and I took him to Jesus. In his pain that night, we came closer together as a family and closer in Christ. AFM taught us that our family, our home, will be the greatest tool in showing God’s love. So that is my plan—to continue to love my family in Christ as we continue to love those around us here in Dubrovnik.