It was January in the Middle East.
I stepped into the aisle of the airplane, and thought back to the conversation I had with God weeks before I left. When I had the opportunity to go on a mission trip to the Middle East, I was confronted by a very difficult question. Even though it was very unlikely for something bad to happen—
Would I be willing to lay down my life to GO for Jesus?
As a missionary for nearly 10 years, and now serving in New Zealand with YWAM Furnace, I have traveled to many countries—and been in many “sticky” situations! This time, however, the question hit deeper.
I’m a husband. I’m a father of three beautiful children.
Could I actually give all I have and lay it down at the feet of Jesus?
In John 15:13 Jesus says” No one has greater love than the one who lays down his life for his friends.” Back in the car on the way to the airport, I had looked at my wife and telling her with tears in my eyes. “I’m at peace. Jesus will look after us. I’m willing to give up everything for Jesus.”
After safely returning to New Zealand, my family was preparing for a very different airplane trip in March.
We were days away from returning to our home in the USA for a furlough. We were getting ready to see our family and friends that we hadn’t seen for years. We couldn't wait to introduce them to our youngest daughter—who was born in New Zealand—for the first time.
Then we started hearing about COVID-19.
Flights were being cancelled and borders were shutting down. We were faced with the difficult decision. We could leave, without knowing when we could come back to New Zealand. Or we could stay and possibly not be able to visit our loved ones in the USA for years. I prayed and asked God what to do.
He answered with another difficult question.
“Would you be willing to lay down your life to stay?”
As much as we romanticize a missionary laying down everything to go to far-off places—I immediately thought back to John 15:13. To lay down your life for those you love no matter the location or situation.
We decided as a family (with some tears) to lay down our lives to stay in this place God led us to many years ago.
It hurts. It’s hard. We have no idea when we will see our families again. Ultimately though it’s the best place to be because it’s the place God had led us to. We will one day see family again and hug them tight. One day we’ll get to see our friends after years of being apart.
But we are willing to give up all for Jesus because He gave up all for us.
His loving arms are the best place to be.