Today I have the very distinct honor of posting a journal entry my mom wrote in 1988 before our family of six moved to Mozambique, a country in the midst of a brutal civil war. Over the course of this last month my mom has shared some personal details from her journals about the challenges and joys of raising me and my brothers while the family prepared to move out of our comfort zone. Whether you are called, or think you may be called, to move out of your financial, geographic, cultural or safe comfort zone, may you be encouraged first and foremost to walk in obedience to Him, even if it costs you more than you think you can bear.
March 11, 1988
Dear P [age 9], H , C  and M ,
I’m sure there are missionary kids who wonder what it was like for their parents in the beginning. Am I presumptuous to assume you would like to know my thoughts and feelings these first years of our life overseas? I am compelled to explain: There was a time when I proudly shirked the “normal”, suburban, American lifestyle. The Lord has been tearing the pride from me but I am still left with the drive to live life “the hard way”. When I was a little girl I played “pioneer”. I would have given anything to have been on the first wagon trains going West. I was actually mad that the West had been discovered before I arrived on the scene! But God took care of that. He began to show me other “Wests” as yet undiscovered. He showed me scores and scores of people who have never discovered Jesus Christ – the only way to the Father. It would take pioneers, willing to cross the frontiers of the world, to reach these people with the Gospel for the first time.
So, my “natural tendencies” coupled with the direct commands and teachings of Christ have led me to this point: Lisbon.
Up until now life HAS been a challenge. I left the suburban lifestyle which, I was beginning to both love and hate, in 1984. There were the academic challenges of [our training], the challenges of raising you all through all the moves and changes, the challenges that this all brought to my marriage. There were financial challenges, learning how to pray, how to serve others, waiting on God and His people to provide money for us to go overseas. It has been a lot of pressure up til now but it has been a great adventure. It is the life of a pioneer that I craved. I would choose no other. But, although it has been hard and I’ve shed many tears as well as rejoiced often in seeing God use me, I have never been scared stiff. We have, thus far, been sent to mild places; Chicago, Denver, Dallas, Lisbon. I have never feared for your lives or mine.
As the time to leave Lisbon draws nearer there is a new emotion swelling in me. I know I am being asked to finally leave my comfort zone and step out into the REAL unknown. God wants me to actually be willing to live in a country where children are shot, people are butchered like animals and the human suffering is unspeakable. Mozambique is about the lowest country on the scale of “desirable places to live”. I have been heading for Mozambique for ten years now, or more. Daddy and I always knew it was a suffering place. I have had fear in the past but, not real fear. I have felt panicked and terrified the last few days. I am convinced that the minute we step into Mozambique you children will be taken from me by mad gunmen and we will all die there. I am not good enough to be a martyr – I keep telling God. 🙂 (Besides, my diary isn’t up to date!)
It will take awhile. This is a new road I travel but I travel with Him. Last night I heard myself say to God: I give myself to you. You can take my life if it will help further your kingdom — but DON’T take my children. Well, God answered that one right back. “M.. A..”, he reminded me, “those children are not yours. They are mine. They belong to me. You gave them each to me as they were born. You have no right to control their future.” Yes, my precious P, H, C and M, it is true. As much as I want to hang on, to cling to you, I have to do the hardest thing I’ve ever yet done. I have to let you go, let you live in Mozambique if that is where God takes us. How I love you. I would gladly give my life for any of you. I think I would give my life for you before I would die for Jesus’ sake. That is wrong. It is idolatry. I am glad God doesn’t ask things of me that I’m not able to do.
This is getting long and rambling. I must get to my point which is this:
It is my most earnest prayer and my greatest hope that you, too, will follow Jesus until he takes you out of your comfort zone. Wherever he takes you, whatever he has you do and with whomever you do it, do it with your WHOLE heart. Go the second mile. Live on the edge. Give Him your life and breath … God gives me glimpses of his hidden treasures as I abide deeper in him. Mind you, I didn’t say “as I work harder or do more ‘things’ ” but as I ABIDE.
My children, Jesus is coming back. May he find each one of you watching, praying and serving him with every breath you take. You are his. Your Father is a Heavenly one and He will watch over you.
I love you more than words can say. You are the most precious gifts I have to give to my Lord. I deliver you into His hands, nail-scarred for you.