I didn't go on this trip looking for a life-changing experience, but it was still impactful to me to see the work God was doing in the church and in the community around the church. The pastors and member of the church shared their compelling testimonies and powerful ministries. Seeing how their faith impacted their community and attitude towards children was a beautiful testament that the God of love is the same across cultures, languages, and distances.
It was also uncomfortably humbling. But is being humbled ever painless? Here at home, being a mom means I do a lot of leading, decision making, and that what I say has weight. Joining a team of strangers and having to work and do most of the day together was sometimes difficult. I lost that sense of being valued that I have with friends and family at home. Though painful, it was good a reminder of how little I really am entitled to and how much I have to be grateful for.
We finished camp on Friday night and were on the way to the airport around 4 am the next morning. The 11 hour time difference and 20 hours in the air were more taxing on the way home. When I stepped out of the airport my first thought was how clean the air seemed (in Los Angeles!). I had some serious digestive problems and a bad ear infection. It took me a solid week to recover physically.
And I came back with something else, a conviction that it may be time to change some things up back at home. I am not entirely sure why, but I think it's in part because I saw how far a dollar could go just about anywhere else - especially Kyrgyzstan. For $40,000 they can build a large, beautiful hostel from the ground up on the property where the Oak House girls live. It will be a sustaining source of income for them and keep the Oak House open. To do something like that in Los Angeles would probably run about $5 million minimum. I think also the more relaxed, slow paced, and uncrowded life in Kyrgyzstan appealed to me. We don't plan to move to Kyrgyzstan, at least not yet, but I hope we can go back - maybe our entire family. None of the rest of my family has done a missions trip yet. I would love for them to meet and connect with the amazing people at the church in Kyrgyzstan and to experience God at work in another part of the world. I hope to return and continue those relationships, to be an encourager to my friends on other side of the world. We're staying in touch over social media.
We've made a decision as a family to pursue supporting foster care kids here at home. This probably means moving. My heart and prayers are still with the church, children, and ministries in Kyrgyzstan. I'm excited to see where God takes us next.