While preparing to move to the Iso people in Africa, I started to get pre-field jitters. Counting the cost became very real.
We handed over our sixteen-year old business to a colleague, and my husband started doing consulting work. He needed flexibility to be able to raise up financial partners. We suddenly did not have a steady income any more. This new way of looking at money was exhilarating, faith building, challenging!
We took our children out of ‘normal’ school and I started home-schooling them. The idea was that we should all be familiar with this way of schooling by the time we get to the field. Then schooling would be one less challenge to overcome. This was a good idea — obviously it was God’s idea! Eventually, we became quite good at having school in a reed hut, or outside under a tree, or with sad-looking, semi-melted candles because the electricity went out.
But I still remember the day we went to the school to tell the headmaster what our plans were. I was waiting in the school’s office, looking at all the photos of the sports teams, and other framed awards, proudly displayed on the walls. My stomach turned, and many thoughts raced through my mind, “What are we doing? Taking our children out of real school! Are we crazy?” The shocked look on the headmaster’s face didn’t ease my growing anxiety either. When he asked me if I was a qualified teacher — which I was not — I put up a brave face and told him that God would help me.
We had to cancel our medical insurance, because that company — as with all the others which we approached — would not insure us while living in an Iso village. And rightly so — proper medical facilities were not available. From the insurance companies’ point of view, we were a liability, because that area was rife with malaria, cholera and other unpronounceable diseases.
The insurance challenge was also true for our vehicle. All the insurance companies we approached would only insure cars going on short trips. We realised that once we exported our car into Iso country, insurance would not be available.
My husband’s parents did not take the news very well. They were concerned about a lot of things — our safety for one was a big issue for them. The Iso people lived in a country which just came out of a civil war, and the country was in a mess. Apart from a lack of proper medical facilities, the roads and bridges were damaged, the country was still riddled with land mines, and we would face other logistical challenges like unreliable communication and food with questionable nutritional value.
The grandparents were also concerned about the children’s future, and especially their schooling. My mother-in-law was a teacher, and the idea of home-schooling was foreign to her. And they were upset, because we were taking away their grandchildren. Because of the bad infrastructure they knew we would probably go home only once a year. From their point of view, we were making a big mistake — and they told us that.
There were many other challenges to overcome. Having to help our children saying good-bye to their friends and helping them to work through various challenges were the worst. I was wrestling with God one day, telling him that our daughter was very talented with arts and drama. I reminded Him that she would not be able to receive training any more once we left.
I asked God, “Don’t you want the best for her?”
“This is the best for her”, God softly answered me. I had to believe Him, and I wanted to, but it was so difficult. I felt guilty too.
I thought to myself, “We are not even on the field yet! What will we have to face once we get there?” All these issues we had to face, and criticism from well-meaning people, started to have an effect on my thoughts and mind set.
The defining moment came when we sold our house. The house was in my name, so I had to sign over the house to the new owners. As I did, my heart dove into my stomach — could feel it sitting there! I thought to myself, “There goes our last security!” I felt very vulnerable and almost fearful. Yes, yes, I know — where was my faith in God, and my reliance on Him? I felt a bit like Peter, jumping out of the boat, and then moments later sinking in fear. In that moment, amongst an excited new home-owner, a satisfied estate agent, and my children running around oblivious of my inner turmoil, God showed me a picture.
I saw a tower of blocks — the kind children play with. The blocks were piled up high, and I saw myself and my husband sitting on top of this tower. This tower was unsteady and was swaying a bit. It could fall over any minute. Then God’s hand came into the picture and plucked out a block from underneath us. The block had “finances” written on it. And the tower became shorter. Then God’s hand came again, and plucked out a block with “insurance” written on it. The tower was shorter, and even more steady. Then it was the “schooling” block that was plucked out. And so God’s hand continued to pluck out blocks from underneath us. As the tower became shorter and shorter it also became more steady. At last, I heard God saying to me very lovingly, “I am taking away everything you are relying on. I want you to rely only on Me.”
Immediately, I became settled. Only God’s peace can do that. God has shown me that our security was in Him alone. I could focus again on the future, with an unspeakable joy and peace.
Please hear me now — I am not against medical or other insurances. In fact, years later, we took out medical insurance again, when it became available. But at the time God showed me the unsteady tower of trust I built. He wanted me to understand that ultimately our security should be build only on One Block — God.
Isaiah 26:4 Trust in the Lordforever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.
How does your tower of trust look like?