I LOVE roller-coasters! The adrenalin, the thrill! In fact, I usually just get a fit of the giggles and have tears running down my face by the end of it!
I have a hunch that the littlest munchkin will follow in my footsteps as she's already proving to be a bit of a thrill seeker!
Embarking on the missionary lifestyle can sometimes feel like a bit of a roller coaster ... but not always one of the thrill seeking, giggling variety! You can be obedient to the call, follow the path and it can still twist and turn in ways that you can never be prepared for.
This week for example, we received news that our container is on it's final leg of a very long journey. To describe the process as a battle, would be an understatement. Every single step of getting it released since it arrived in Tanzania has been fought for on our behalf. As I've shared before bureaucracy here is a little different to what we're used to, especially when it comes to issuing visas!
Even this week, when we thought it was all finally going to be sorted, we have had some of the biggest ups and downs to cope with!
On Monday, we were told the container was loaded onto a truck to bring here. An hour or so later we were told it was just being taken to a warehouse and wouldn't be released until Mark had his visa ... something we had just gone through a whole process to avoid. To say we felt numb and sick when we received that email and thought we were back to square one would definitely be an understatement. Three VERY long hours later we were told it was a mistake and we'd been misinformed and everything was still good for delivery.
On Tuesday, we were told it would be leaving within the next 24 hours. Only to be told later on that we still had to pay an additional 1.2 million Tanzanian Shillings before it was released. Again, somebody somewhere was misinformed and that was not the case!
Today, Wednesday, we trust that it has started making it's final journey here although to be fair, until we see it, we're not going to believe it! When we do, I have no idea how I will react. Tears of relief, tears of joy? Who knows?!
When you've entrusted all your worldly goods to total strangers, it becomes quite personal when there are issues with the processing of it. Yes, possessions aren't everything and the contents of that container aren't overly special but they are ours and they mean something to us.
You can imagine the emotions that we faced this week, especially on Monday when we thought we had to start all over again. It hit us to the core, we may be missionaries but we are also human. It caused us to question everything from 'Are we in the right place?', 'Are we doing the right thing?', 'Why when we've invested so much into this, is this happening to us?' to 'With so many people praying for us, does God really answer prayer?', 'Shall we just pack up and go home?'. It was pretty awful there for a couple of hours. Talk about stressful!
We've been here five months now, our visas are no closer to being processed, Mark is still has no closer to being allowed to sit for his TCAA licence, there is no suitable car available for us to buy and our container is yet to join us. Yet we KNOW God is bigger than all of this ... even if at certain times on certain days, when we're far from home and the familiar, it's been a lot harder to believe!
I guess it's all part of riding the roller coaster of missionary life ... and we have no intention of getting off that ride just yet!