Sharing my faith and my life one day at a time.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Navigating Through Unfamiliar Waters

Have you ever been in a place where the life -- the ONLY kind of life -- you have ever known suddenly just ended? Today, that is the very place I am in.

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Manila, Philippines. Born there. Grew up there. Studied there. Gave my life to Jesus there. Met and married my husband there. Family and best friends STILL living there.

And then suddenly, the 30+ years of doing life, connections, relationships, and speaking the language connected to my home is gone. At least for the time being.

My husband and I relocated to Nashville, Tennessee exactly 12 days ago. We were temporarily living in Omaha, Nebraska (with Robert's parents) to raise support for our 2-year missions work assignment in Manila.

As we were wrapping up this fundraising/equipping season of our lives and getting ready go back home, God had something else in mind. He made it clear to both of us that Robert has a new (and very unlikely) missions field: the high school kids of Franklin, TN.

There is something so beautiful about experiencing hope and excitement when you get that clarity from God. As we settled in this new city, our Father has been so sweet in letting me and Robert know, "Thank you for trusting Me." He surely didn't have to -- but because of who He is, He did!

Everyone has been so generous, sweet and thoughtful to us. All the kindness that we have been experiencing is inspiring us to do the same for others.

In the midst of this unquenchable enthusiasm, I am also boldly confessing to you: 
I am terrified.

As I navigate my way through these unfamiliar waters, I find myself asking these questions:

Will I ever feel at home in a place that is nothing like the city I'm from?
Will people see past my ethnicity and see that I can potentially be, above all else, a spiritual sister?
Will I ever be mentored (in the most sincere, non-obligatory way) by someone who has gone on this journey with Christ far longer than I have?
Will high school girls ever trust me, knowing that my high school experience is way different than their existing one?
Why is everyone so skinny?

Yes, these questions have gone through my mind as my world turned upside down. I hope you don't misunderstand me. I love Nashville. In fact, when we were praying about it, I was thrilled immediately. It took some time for Robert to get to that point.

What I am trying to point out is something we all go through when we desire to follow Jesus every day of our lives. It is hard to trust God. It is especially hard to trust Him when He calls us to take a leap of faith and do something crazy.

I do not know what lies ahead but I do know this: He will not let me down. Countering my silly questions with a new level of faith is the best part of this journey. I want nothing more than to trust Him with all my heart and lean not on my own (very ignorant) understanding (Proverbs 3:5).

Now that the confession is done and over with, I have to excuse myself because I have some growing up to do!

Do tell:
What do you need to entrust to God today?


Diane G said...

wow, cant imagine doing what you're doing now... leaving home. in fact i get homesick when abroad for more than a week or so!

praying for you and ptr rob in your new ministry. i'm certain that God working through you guys will create such a huge impact there, like the way you did here! looking forward to your kwentos and testimonies! :)

Samantha Johnson said...

Thank you so much Diane! Your prayers mean a lot especially at this time :-)

Rebecca Pierce said...

Hi Samantha,

First, I'm so happy for God's tender expressions of His love for you and Rob in this new season of obedience and unknowns! I just came across your blog on FB and was particularly moved by this post. This is EXACTLY how I felt when I moved to Manila. All of your questions (minus the high school one) were my questions. And I must say that being the tall American white girl amongst beautiful, petite, slender Filipinas did nothing for my self-esteem, so you're a step ahead in that department! You're a gorgeous godly woman - an ambassador for Jesus and for your country, what an honor and a blessing! Enjoy your journey and know that you're not alone! Will be lifting you both in prayer in this new calling.

Samantha Johnson said...

Hi Rebecca! So good to hear from you. Your comment made me realize how you must be feeling all these same things when you moved to Manila. I take those things for granted -- thinking Filipinos are very warm to people from countries. And while that is true, I can just imagine how YOU were feeling to be in a place where you stick out all the time. I know because I feel the exact same way. I get funny looks too (I am sure you did too!) while I am speaking to some of them.

It's funny actually but I do understand the discomfort. But what a joy it is to be in a place to trust Jesus completely, isn't it? Hope all is well with you! Stay in touch :-)

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