A young missionary looks back on her mission experiences.
In August 2011, as I stepped from the plane into the welcoming warmth of the Cambodian air, the Khmer people stepped into my heart. Before many days
had passed, I realized that I was here to stay – for as long as God wanted me. So when God sent me back to America, long before I was ready to leave, to recover from amoebic dysentery and dengue fever, I wrestled with my conflicting desires. I wanted to be willing to follow wherever He called, but my heart yearned for the souls I had left behind. Nine months later, when God called me back to Cambodia, I felt His gentle rebuke when I saw how He had provided
for my precious Cambodians in my absence. Slowly, I learned to surrender them to His care. After all, He loved them more than I ever could and I knew He would never forsake them.
And then God called me to the jungles of Thailand. My love for my Cambodians was so strong that the thought of leaving them again tore at my heart. I prayed that God would give me a love just as strong for my jungle students and their people. And He did.
Wherever I go, people ask me, “Do you miss it when you’re away?”
My answer is, “Yes, wherever I go, I miss the places where I’m not.”
Sometimes I think God sends us different places to prepare our hearts for our eternal home where we’ll never have to say good-bye to those we love and labor for.
I enjoy remembering the events of the past few years, and many times I find myself wishing I could return to those days. To the shrieking and laughter while we
clean up after a birthday celebration and start flinging leftover noodles at each other. To the round eyes of my students as we point out a moving star and tell
them about the airplane whisking travelers through the night sky to some distant land. To the exertion and camaraderie as we plow new channels in the bottom of the river so we can continue driving our boat in the dry season. Even to the water dripping down my neck as I hike alone through the jungle in
a late-night rainstorm when God literally unlocks the gate to my friends’ home so I would have a dry place to sleep.
Other times I wish I could forget. I regret the missed opportunities and the failure to overcome temptations or patiently bear trials. And then I wish I could go back and live them again, and make different choices. But all the wishing in the world will not give me back those missed opportunities. I am thankful that
God is gracious, that each day holds a new window of opportunity.
Every person we meet is influenced for eternity. Will we allow Jesus to live through us so that others can see His loveliness shining through all we do, or will
we allow self to control us, and mar their picture of Him? We can never know when a soul will make his or her final decision for eternity;
when the unexpected might come crashing down and close our window of opportunity forever, leaving us on the other side with only a memory.
I want to be able to look back and rejoice in God’s leading, with no regrets. I have learned that God’s work in me is His biggest priority. Then when self has died,
and He is everything to me, He can pour His love through me in an unbroken stream. What an amazing, faithful, loving God!
Author: Sarah Van Hee
Sarah Van Hee is the head teacher and girls’ dean of Jason’s English Medical Missionary School (JEMMS) in Thailand.
How You Can Help:
Pray for the work in Cambodia and the Buddhist students coming to learn English that they will learn to love the truth of God’s Word.
Give: The work needs more than money, it also needs missionaries who will make a commitment to stay and bring the word of God to starving souls.
Monetary donations can be sent to:
Jesus for Asia, Inc.
P.O. Box 1221
Collegedale, TN 37315
(Indicate Sarah Van Hee.)