"Mom, I miss home..." / by Keri Campbell

the place where one lives permanently, esp. as a member of a family or household.
It's been 25 days.
Twenty five days ago we left Texas. A couple of months before that, we left our cute,comfy home in Keller, Texas to live with my dear grandmother.
A little change is fun once in a while.
All five of us love my Granny so much, and living with her for about two months was really loads of fun. Especially since we were there around the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Her home is familiar to us all. In fact, it is the only home in our family now that I have known all of my life, and the same with our children.
When the LORD called us to follow Him across the globe, He called us to follow Him across the globe.
Funny how I kinda thought that we would just show up and start life like we had left it.
Change is sometimes sudden and abrupt.
Most mission organizations require or highly recommend cross cultural training before individuals or families head out into their new life.
I often sit and wonder what Sarai thought when Abram told her they were packing up and heading out.
Like, what she really thought.
We applied to the University of the Nations at Kona, Hawaii and were graciously accepted. This particular school was a desire for us because they provide outstanding training for our children as well. Our children have also been called to go to the Nations with us.
So, we packed up and headed out. David, sick with the flu. Our children, mostly clueless as to the depth of what was happening. Me, trapped in a surreal feeling that I just couldn't shake.
Were we really doing this?
It didn't seem real.
Did we really have all that we needed for five months (honestly, from here on out.) in our four suitcases and five carry-ons?
My husband quit his job.
Would we be provided for?
And I mean provided for in all ways.
Change can be really scary sometimes.
When we got off the bus from the airport, Emma immediately threw up.
When I touched her head, I found she was hot with fever. It seemed to hit her suddenly and I was shocked. Ben had been struggling with a cough and fever, but had seemed better...now HE was also having a hard time.
We unloaded our family, met some people, then headed to the clinic on campus.
Emma was on the exam table, dressed for January in Oregon and now in Hawaii. Fever of 104 and achy all over. She was crying because of the way she felt, and apologizing that she was keeping us from getting settled into our new place.
She is generous and thoughtful like that.
With my oldest crying and my youngest sobbing in my arms, I did what any calm, in control mom would do.
I broke down and cried too.
And the doctor just held my hand and right away prayed aloud for me.
Sometimes we just need someone to hold our hand and right away pray aloud for us.
This doctor said that both children needed an antibiotic for the junk taking over their lungs. She handed us some papers and we walked out. And I began to wonder, "How do we get to the pharmacy? Where IS the pharmacy?"
We don't have a vehicle.
A sweet new friend took David to the nearest Walmart. I took the kids in our room, our new home.
In this new room, Emma threw up from heat and fever.
I had no towels. I had no cleaning supplies.
So I did what any calm, in control mom would do.
I sat and held my daughter while she was crying and I cried too.
Change can bring some unexpected twists and turns.
As my new friend, Marcia, would say, it was time to "suck it up princess!"
(She spoke this of herself while giving a testimony in class one day.)
Towels and cleanser were delivered to my door and I began cleaning up the sickness. Sad that things weren't going the way I planned them, but not out of selfishness...I was sad for my girl. For my boys, who were just sitting on the plastic chairs in our new home. Ben, who couldn't stop coughing to catch a breath, and Jacob who was wondering if this was really our new home.
Sad and scared because I want my children to get a good taste of following Jesus. Not a taste of bitterness and difficulty.
Confession: I wanted that for myself too.
Doesn't sound too much like dying to self, does it?
That day grew more intense as Emma began hallucinating in the night and Ben could not breathe without having horrible coughing spasms.
For a moment in the night I began to panic. I had no clue where the hospital was or even how to get an ambulance if we needed one.
Change can seem overwhelming as time reveals more of what has really changed.
That next day we needed to go to the ER or urgent care for Ben. He wasn't better and his cough was getting worse. How would we get there? This school has shuttles on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for two hours from 6PM-8PM. Those shuttles would not start until the next week of school as they are driven by student volunteers. Oh, and they only go to two locations...the hospital not being one of them.
A dear new friend offered to take us. This sweet soul spent the whole day with us and our sick Ben.
So the children slowly got better and we began to settle in.
We homeschooled our children in Texas. Ben just turned five in December and technically would not start kindergarten until this coming Fall.
Things are different here.
The children go to school from 8:00am until about 2:45pm almost everyday of the week. Thankfully, Emma and Jacob are in the same class.
Ben is in a different class.
It is really hard on him. This life change is hard on him. It is a lot for a newly turned five-year-old to take in. His heart is crying out for stability and security. My momma heart is screaming that I am here for him, that he is safe and secure in our love and arms. He wants to be near us more during the day, and that is breaking my heart.
Change can be hard and make you question if you are doing the right thing.
There is a "friend" in class with the older two who is angry that his family is here. He is verbally and physically taking his anger out on my first son. Jacob's tender heart just wants acceptance from this child. It was revealed to us why the kid is acting this way, and thus we were given an opportunity to pray for him. To pray for Jacob in a new way. To teach Jacob how to pray for this boy who is hurting him.
It's hard.
Despite our address, we are not on vacation.
This is our new life.
I have heard the verses talking about dying to self and taking up my cross to follow Jesus.
But they didn't really seem to come alive like they do today.
I can't hop in my car and go where I want to go today.
We don't have the income we had two months ago. We have to be cautious and thoughtful about spending. Walking a fine line between fear and trust.
I know God's word to be true. Like, I know it deep in my soul. His word says that in His presence there is fullness of joy. I am constantly reminded that if I am not experiencing "fullness of joy" I should consider if I am in His presence.
And in this new way of dying to self, there really is fullness of joy. It doesn't look like I thought it would. But does death ever look like we thought it would?
Taking up my cross...somehow those words never struck me like they have now. Like, I think I thought I was actually doing that already.
Confession; I wasn't.
So here, I don't get to choose what I eat or what my family eats. I don't get to adjust the AC or Heat. We don't have that. Ants are everywhere in our home, so are spiders and geckos. If we want to go out to eat, it is a challenge and not a spontaneous type thing like we are used to. Outside the campus is a highway that does not have a sidewalk. Many have been killed or seriously injured walking on the side of that road. Drunk drivers and drug use is prevalent here.We share two washers and dryers with 20+ people and I have to sign up to use them. Sometimes I forget and lose my chance. David and I don't have a bedroom with four walls and a door that we can close. Neither do the children. All windows are open and that means we can hear all the things that go on outside, from goats and wild pigs to basketball games. This also means that everyone outside can hear all that is going on in our home. (Like Ben crying because he can't have his way.)
Last night it hit my girl that this way of life isn't ending soon. She came to my bed crying hysterically, "Mom, I miss home so much that I don't know what to do!"
So I did what any calm and in control mom would do...Yep, you guessed it. ;)
This world is not our home and we know that well. But this new home, this new life, makes us yearn for our eternal home much more. I tried to convey that to the one the LORD has entrusted to me and to David. Thinking, "Maybe saying it out loud will give life to the words that my own soul needs so badly to hear." There is a soul satisfaction that only eternity with Jesus can and will bring. I am praying that our children get that. That somehow in this time, the Spirit speaks to the deepest parts of their souls that He is enough. That things and circumstances may physically and emotionally satisfy for a moment, but that He is the only steadfast, unending soul satisfaction. I want them to know this.
I want to know this.
When our time here in Kona ends, we are not returning to our cute and comfy home in Keller, Texas. This training is like a bridge to the journey He has for us in Berlin, Germany. It feels much like we are training for a marathon...and if you know me, you know that running does not come easy for me. Especially, long distance. I am more of a sprinter.
But God is a marathoner, in it for the long haul...and I am created in His image...so that long distance running, that race, is within my ability, but only by His strength and power.
So, I'll  lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and I'll run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of my faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
There are many other areas of opportunities which challenge us to press into the LORD more and trust in His faithfulness and goodness. Areas like the support from our home church, financial provision for our outreach, physical and emotional care for our children, preparation for our life in Germany. When we take our eyes off of Jesus, we begin to feel a sinking feeling. Fear and anxiety attempt to take over and steal the joy the LORD has for us in His presence.
So we strive to remain in His presence.
Because we truly love joy.
True joy, that comes only from our Jesus.
Change can be a good thing when it strips away all that you think you need and places you in the safe embrace and care of the Savior.