Jason and I have been going back and forth, back and forth with Chile. Let's do it...let's not, it'll be great...I'm pretty nervous. I think this is the Lord's will...maybe it's not. We have been on our knees non-stop for the last couple of weeks and it has been draining! To begin, one of the many factors concerning this decision is the lack of time. We have exactly 4 months before we would need to be in Chile. Before that we would need to get married. Basically then we have 3 1/2 months for an engagement. It's just too much. We were talking and we decided that if it was just involved him and I than it might be possible. But, the fact is that weddings involve a ton of other people, most importantly our parents, and it just will be too much for them, too much stress, with too little time.
So, here is the last couple of days in a nutshell. To begin, we were super excited. The possibility of going abroad excited me beyond what I can believe. Fortunately, I have a man who is just as excited for such a thing. We applied, did all of the work, waited for a while and finally were excepted. We were excepted on the condition that they can find us housing...as was stated in another Blog. We were excited and yet confused and reserved. We were not going to make any other decisions on it for a while until we thought and prayed a lot. We ended up meeting with Ken about the whole situation. He encouraged us and said that he thought it would be a crazy next 4 months but that it sounded exciting and that he thought we would grow closer to the Lord and to each other through it. We left the meeting feeling okay. There was never a point though where I would say we were both 100% for it. We always had some hesitations regarding it.
We had been praying a lot and then we decided to meet with Jen Peet becuase she was in town for the Missions Conference. She studied abroad in Chile for 6 months in college. We met with Jen last Tuesday night. We talked to her, got advice, she gave us some questions to ask the organization and then we parted...she didn't tell us not to go, she didn't say she thought we were crazy. She was realistic but also encouraging. She thought though that since we are volunteering and working so much for them that the organization should take full responsibility of giving us at least enough money to cover room and board. We agreed with her. Then we parted from her. By the time we got to Jason's house from meeting with her we were both ridden with anxiety, had little to no peace concerning it, and were just utterly frustrated over the whole thing. We prayed right then and there in the car...a prayer of frustration, confusion, and direction. We just couldn't figure out what to do.
We then went in his house and tried to watch some TV to just distract ourselves I think. That didn't work out so well so we decided to make a pro's and con's list for having a short engagement and going to Chile and also for having a normal engagement and not going to Chile. Of course they came out even. So, Jason's mom had finished dinner and called us into the kitchen. Jason decided that we should have a "pre-secret" ballot vote :-)...like the Primaries. (you are totally getting a glimpse at how we make decisions and solve problems.) This wasn't to be our final vote but...you know...to get an idea for what we were feeling at the time. So, he ripped off two chuncks of paper and we wrote what we thought on it. We put them in our pockets, had dinner, and then decided to show them to each other. After some time of, "No, you show yours first." "Come on, I just want to see what you wrote first." we simultaneously opened the other person's paper. On Jason's piece of paper that I read it said, "Don't go to Chile and find a Christian organization to go with after we are married." On my piece of paper that Jason read it said, "Don't go to Chile. I don't know, I'm just so overwhelmed." So, the "Primaries" for Chile revealed that we would not go.
We then left it at that and I went home, slept on it and still felt the same way the next morning. I saw Jason at Grace that morning and we talked about it and he still felt the same way too. We just kept praying through out the day and as every hour passed by I felt more and more sure that Chile was not what the Lord had for us now. We had dinner yesterday evening and together felt absolutely certain that Chile just wasn't it. So, we decided to email my parents and the lady that we have been working with in Chile. When we opened Jason's email to write it there was an email in his inbox from that lady in Chile. In the email it said that she double checked about our living quarters and that we would be living in a hostel for at least the first month we were at our assignment...and we might even have to live there for the whole 6 months. WELL...that put the nail in the coffin. I don't know if any of you have ever stayed in a hostel but uh, yeah, there is no way that I will be newely married and living with a bunch of other people, not having a kitchen, or our own bathroom, AND trying to prepare 8 hours of lessons for class. How are we supposed to cook even? (Isn't it wonderful how the Lord changed our heart before the email! How merciful He is! He could have revealed that to us when we were still into the idea and we would have been so disappointed. Instead He completely affirmed us!)
So, here is what we have learned from all of this. First, I have been so encouraged by Jason's leadership and constant desire to go before the Lord with a trial. He is such a wonderful man and I am just...just overjoyed that the Lord has provided such a wonderful friend and more so, a faithful man of God. Next, we have come to the decision that the Lord means us for missions and a life abroad. You would think that all this would cause us to doubt this but rather it has affirmed it more than I can imagine or explain...this just isn't where we are supposed to be right now. Also, this is just a taste of the challenges, preperations, disappointments, and constant prayer that will be needed to live in the mission field. The fact that we are not scared away but are even more drawn to it is a testimony of our Lord and how He is absolutely in this. And lastly and more simply, this has drawn us closer to one another and even more so to our Lord...we have been in full dependence on Him the last few weeks. What a hard place to be and yet what a sweet and wonderful place to be. So, in all, we praise Him for what He has done and we are eager to see what is next. Thank you to all who have been praying for us! You all are so great and we are so thankful for you all!!!
PS: This is officially the world's longest Blog entry!!!!