From Mengesha Shibru Gella, Missionary Outreach …
These past two, three years, my life has not been the same. Living in another country and taking in all the changes has somehow shaped me in a different way. My family and I were very happy when I got the scholarship at Concordia. We saw God’s great hand in it. We immediately embraced the opportunity with excitement; but deep inside there were mixed feelings. We were happy for we knew it was God’s plan for me to upgrade my studies and ministries. On the other hand, deciding to live apart was the toughest thing that we had to deal with.
My family and I always have a FaceTime where I get to see their faces and talk to them for hours. Still, I am constantly aware of the distance between us and it makes me feel disoriented at times. The time and space I have now, away from family and home, has helped me to reflect back and realize that life is really about the little details, and moments, that we normally don’t pay attention to. Life is about being there when Zoe, my daughter, lost a tooth. It is about driving my son, Brook, to his first day at kindergarten. It is about witnessing my youngest son Micah, taking his first steps, uttering his first words. Life is about sneaking out with my wife, for a precious stolen moment alone, just holding hands. These are the beauties in life. The day I left Ethiopia, I was saying goodbye to my children and Brook ran to a corner in the house. The look I saw on his face translates into so many feelings that I can never be able to name. Change comes with a price. Though I am distanced from my family for a good purpose, it has left some kind of dent in my life.
Looking back, I say to myself, how am I surviving this? Philippians 4-13 reads, “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” Yes, I am surviving this because God has given me strength. When I look at myself in the ministry at St. Andrew and what God is doing in my life I realize that is where my strength is. Once, Pastor Mark interviewed me in front of the congregation, and said “the safest place for a ship is the harbor, but the ship doesn’t always stay at the harbor.” I feel so connected with this analogy. I left home which was my safest place. I left my harbor and went into the storm. The storm has made me strong and yet, humble; it has made me a leader, yet also a servant. The wave has pushed me toward the goal that God has set out for me. The biggest lesson in all this is that holding on to God, trusting Him is my anchor; serving in His house, seeing beautiful souls coming to Jesus is my priceless purpose in life.