I was born and raised in the Latin American country of Costa Rica, ten years ago the Lord called me into missions. I started in my home country and then God called me to leave. In 2010 I moved to The United States and in 2011 to Montana to work with YWAM Lakeside. I have been serving here with my husband for five and a half years. It has been an incredible privilege to serve the Lord through missions, our family has seen very fruitful times in our lives and the lives of others. But I have a confession to make…
I struggle with homesickness, missing my family and friends dearly and longing to go back to my country. Many times I have felt guilty and selfish, thinking to myself, “I am a terrible missionary” and “God is so disappointed in me!” ”How can I feel this way? I shouldn’t have said yes to Him!” When these thoughts come up, the tears roll down my face. I miss my parents, the food, the weather, and my culture.
Our first child, was born 16 months ago, my pregnancy turned out to be very difficult and of course all of the food cravings I had were for Costa Rican food. I had always dreamed of my baby shower in Costa Rica as its usually your mom and sisters (if you have sisters) who will throw you the shower. In Latin culture when it comes to baby showers you go big or go home, and you see, in cultures like the one I come from, children grow up surrounded by grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, etc., and they all love to help out with the little ones. This was my expectation for when I had my own. But I had to survive without the Costa Rican goodies and giving up my desire of the baby shower I always dreamed of where my mom and sisters were there. I also had to give up on having my mom around for the first months of my newborn. My parents got to meet her when she was three months old, and when we go to Costa Rica we usually only stay for 3 weeks and the time flies by. When the time comes for my parents to drop us at the airport I am weeping as I go through the airport doors and often through the airplane doors too. The last time we were there my kind husband reminded me that I needed to come to terms with the reality that after 3 weeks we were leaving. The fact that my parents have been denied a U.S. Tourist visa doesn’t make it easier.
Recently the Lord called us to move long term to Taiwan. Our goal is to be there by the beginning of 2017. Meaning, I am changing cultures one more time, and we are moving even further away. I decided to bring this up to the Lord, and what’s interesting is that He didn’t say I was the worst missionary, He didn’t say He was disappointed in me, He also didn’t reassure me of why it was all worth it, instead He simply, kindly, lovingly validated my feelings. He said “Carla, I know how you feel.” It took me a while to recognize what He had just said, I think I was in shock at first and then I just burst into tears. For the longest time I didn’t feel like I had to “fight” God on what He said, I didn’t argue or try to prove a point to Him, I surrendered to his words and I melted in His arms and cried. Like a loving father he just let me be in his presence grieving. And I understood that missing your family, your culture, your country is actually a beautiful thing. He, after all, had planned it all out for you to be part of your family and your home nation, but also I understood that His calling on my life and my family is a privilege. That He trusts us enough to release us to partner with Him on his great plan of redemption for mankind. Don’t get me wrong, I still struggle and I still have my moments, but when I do I go to the Lord and say “Jesus it’s one of those days…” I now sit in his presence and let him comfort me.
If you are in ministry struggling with what I struggle with, you are not alone, sometimes we need to know this: That God understands and that others do as well, that you are not a bad servant and that its ok to feel this way as long as we continue to give it to the Lord to be able to move on and be present for where He has us and what He is doing through us and in us. God has been so generous that we have been able to spend time with my parents-in- law as they moved up here to do their DTS, also my sister was granted a visa to work here at the Lakeside base so I get to see her often. I was blessed with a super cute baby shower where women I love and appreciate were there loving on me and my baby, and God has provided friends that I consider family. This is what I need to see and focus on when I am feeling blue, the blessings of God where I am at. It’s different than my expectations and what I had hoped for, and this feeling might never go away, but He loves me and He is there every step of the way and have experienced unexpected blessings along the way.