The other day, Wai Jia asked me if I miss home. I replied and asked which home?
She gave me three options:
- Hong Kong – where I was born and lived until I was 8
- Canada – where I lived for more than 20 years
- Singapore – where I was living for 2.5 years prior coming to Uganda
I answered I don’t miss any of these places.
When I was living in Singapore serving with OMF International, there were many moments I longed to be back in Canada. I missed the snow. I missed my friends. I missed having really good Canadian food (ok technically I miss food I enjoyed when I was in Canada such as nachos, chicken wings, and poutine etc….).
Poor Wai Jia, there were many moments she had to endure of my rants during the first year of our marriage.
As missionaries serving overseas, there are moments when you have that desire to be back to norm of where you are from.
This time, in Uganda, it is different.
One of the latest revelations I had is that even if tomorrow Wai Jia and I are back in Canada (or in Singapore), I realized we won’t be content staying there. Sure, there are conveniences we will appreciate like consistent running water and electricity, fast internet or fine dining. But we realized we won’t be following the Lord’s Will.
In Singapore, I missed my family a lot, especially my aging parents.
Within the short span of three months of being in Uganda, I had the privilege of receiving news of two nieces being born in Canada. I would love to be there in person. But I cannot. We are called to follow Jesus. Holy Spirit has opened doors and brought us to Uganda.
Today’s the Utmost devotion was very timely. It was talking whenever there are conflicting loyalties between Jesus and others, even family matters, always pick Jesus no matter what the cost.
We put our sense of loyalty to our relatives ahead of our loyalty to Jesus Christ, forcing Him to take last place. When your loyalties conflict, always obey Jesus Christ whatever the cost.The Go of Reunication – Utmost.org
Earlier in this month we went to Burundi to teach for two weeks. Wai Jia noticed I was on fire during one of the classes. I was teaching about the suffering we endure when following Jesus. The students were seasoned pastors and evangelists and many of them had suffer personally from following Jesus. One female student was Muslim and was rejected by her family when she accepted Jesus. As I was sharing, I kept back my tears as I was recounting my own costs and realizing that many of them suffered much more than me. I realized I need to deliver this message from the Lord to encourage them to persevere and not give up or give in. I use Hebrews 12:2 to encourage them and myself that even Jesus had joy when he was going up the cross. There’s joy in suffering. There is fellowship in suffering.
Now we are in Uganda, I don’t desire to go back to Canada as much as I was in Singapore. Perhaps I’ve grown spiritually. Perhaps I finally accept the fact that I have no home (even Jesus said the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head [Luke 9:58]). Perhaps my mind is being renewed with the mind of Christ and it changed all the priorities and desires of my heart.
Right now, I just want to do what the Lord wanted me to do. Life is too short. There ain’t a lot of time left. I just want to be obedient to His Calling. Wai Jai and I are in Uganda to equip and build the body of Christ so that they are mature, pure and blameless before the Lord. And there’s much work to be done. Here in Uganda, I am slowly understand what it means to labor for His Kingdom. The desire to follow Him is stronger than the earthly home. I desire a better home! A heavenly country!
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.Hebrews 11:13-16 (NKJV)
Whenever I struggle and feel discourage, whenever I have the longing to go back to Canada or Singapore, I stop and read Philippians 4:12-14:
Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:12-14 (NKJV)
This is a great passage to encourage yourself to follow God, especially during hard times.
Pressing toward reminded me of the races I used to compete. It is painful and it hurts. At the moment it is hurting is the moment I need to press it and not give up. The same principle applies in our walk with the Lord.
I am thankful for passage like this. Paul knew what suffering is. He had been persecuted, stoned, beaten, jailed, and shipwrecked.
I am 34 this year. I hope that when I am 54 or 74 I still have this desire as Paul has, to reach the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.