Hot dogs or Steak? Excuse #1.
I have recently been impressed with the FACT that there is NO good time to become a missionary. I mean if you are single, you may want a spouse. If you are recently married, you may need “time”. If you are having children……well who would want to expose them to a third world environment? If you have teens, will you dare disrupt their life? Careers. Security. Retirement plans. Sick parents. Special Educational needs. Personal sickness. Mid age and being away from your young adult kids and emerging grandbabies. Retirement age and then parents back home are more in need then ever of your care. When can one “Go” and it be the “RIGHT” time? NEVER. Except when God calls, He makes up for the lack, the unknown, the need and the EXCUSES. I hope to tackle some of these missionary “Excuses” by talking with current missionaries, in the field, who authentically had/have great excuses. I think we are about to happen upon some of the greatest stories to be told………
HOT DOGS OR STEAK? EXCUSE #1
Meet Kim. Real mother of 3. Fake mother of 12. Former FBI agent. Her excuse for not wanting to be a missionary was money and career. She was 2 years away from having a sweet government pension, 50%. Kim was at the door step of a grand promotion to be a Unit Chief in the FBI. This was not her timing. In the last 2 years her life has spun from law enforcement to cooking endless meals for 17 people in a 3rd world country. Kim is now the dorm Mom at an International school. Housing mainly students whose parents are doing work in remote tribal locations. This is Kim’s testimony of how God can turn a hot dog meal into steak.
Kim was an MK for 3 years at the Hillcrest International School in Papua, Indonesia back in the 80’s. Her father engineered and helped to build the current school. When Kim married Kevin and they finished their graduate degrees she “selfishly” begged Kevin to spend a year of their lives in Papua, just so he could understand why she was so crazy about this place. When the year was finished, Kevin also loved it. Yet this was not the right time to be full time missionaries. Back in America Kim taught Math in different colleges and universities. She then went on to become an engineer at Cingular Wireless (now AT & T) and learned the business world with computers and programing. Kim then decided it would be ”fun” to apply to work for the FBI. She wanted to see how many careers she could have. In 2004, the FBI was ready to take Kim on.
Kim and Kevin had decided once they started having children that Kevin would be the stay-at-home Dad. He wanted to write and be creative. She thrived in the work world. Why fight the traditional way of doing things, with personalities that didn’t fit tradition? When their first born son was 1, Kim started working for the FBI. This meant intense training. Away. 4-5 months in a different part of the country from her husband and young son. Seeing them only once a month. This training filled Kim with extreme independence and confidence. Family and friends kept telling Kim, “You are different. You have changed.” Kim says it is during this time, that she wandered the farthest from God. It was also during this time that Kim walked away, mentally and emotionally, from Kevin. She felt that she no longer needed him and that life would be simpler with a Nanny and no husband.
For over the next 2 years, Kim lived the “double life”. Not letting Kevin know that her heart was checked out and merged into her new world as a special agent. In 2006 God spoke to Kim’s heart and warned her that if she continued on this path that she was going to loose her family.
When Kim confessed to Kevin her heart, he was floored and hurt. Through their church and almost 2 years of counseling, the miracle of a restored marriage took place. Kim says, “As we pursued God, we pursued each other.” By 2008, Kim and Kevin were fueled with enough passion to start a marriage support group called, “My Marriage Rocks.” This proved to be a neat time of building each other up.
Throughout all their marriage, Kim and Kevin had kept in touch with their missionary friends in Indonesia. Reading newsletters and supporting them. As healing took place in their own lives a dream began to spring forth in them as they saw the need for member care/counseling and help right in the field. It bothered them that missionary families had to “come home” to get help. Rather then receiving the support they needed right in the field. As most of us do, they began to formulate how this dream of helping missionaries would take place. FIRST they would become financially secure and THEN they would move overseas and start a ministry center to missionaries in crises. Kim remarked that she loves how we come up with these perfect plans in our own minds and tell God this is how we see it is going to work.
In 2008 Kim, Kevin and now their 3 children moved to Washington D.C.. Kevin was launching his own business and Kim had changed roles in the FBI. Kim loved and thrived on this work. A promotion came open at work and Kim applied. She was so excited about this possible promotion. This job would equal money, personal success, fun, the ideal unit, challenging and a great group of people to work with.
One August day Kim and Kevin and the children were driving to an Indonesian reunion in Chicago. As they are heading down the freeway Kevin says, “Do you feel God wants us to go back into missions?”
Kim, shocked, is thinking in her head, “NO, NO, NO, NO, NO……” “I am 2 years away from my pension, what about getting Kevin’s business secure and the promotion?”
Kevin continues, “It’s Ok if God is not talking to you. But can you do me a favor and pray about it? Because I know that if God wants us to go then we will be unified in this big decision.”
Kim turns her face to the window and without hesitation the tears flow. She knows immediately that this is what they will be doing. For one, she knows that Kevin would not just come up with this idea on his own. Crying she asks, “Where are we going to go?” Kevin responds, “I think we need to go back to Indonesia, to Papua, to the school.”
Kim is a jumble of emotions inside. Anywhere but Papua. There is no FBI in Papua. Bulgaria, Cambodia……hadn’t just a few months before she showed Kevin a map of the world and said, “I will go anywhere, just point somewhere.” But Papua????!!!! NO, NO, NO, NO, NO…….
Ever so gently over the next month, God helped Kim to see that truly He was calling them to return to Papua. On a plane trip, Kim felt Jesus speaking to her through the book, “God’s Silent Partner.” She said it was an extraordinarily humbling experience to know that God wanted her to be a silent selfless vessel. Then Kim kept having conversations over and over again with friends encouraging her to go. Reminding her that this had been her dream to marry a godly man and do mission work. Kim also knew in her heart that when she started working for the FBI that it would not be a job that she would retire from. She also began to process that how could Kevin and her provide missionary care without being missionaries? And what better way to know what a missionary is then to become one really large family with lots of missionary kids making up a family……????
The very last day possible for Kim to take her name out of the hat for the promotion at the FBI, she pulled her name. Kim went to tell her boss what she had done. He wanted to talk with Kim more and she explained, “It’s already done.” This really distressed him, because everything had already been put in motion for Kim to receive the promotion of Unit Chief. She had it. She walked away. Kim describes walking around the FBI building three times in Washington, D.C. Crying. This was so painful. A dream. An opportunity……tossed away.
God gave Kim a beautiful impression that she has carried in her heart even to this day. Around the time of their calling Kim would make steaks for supper, but their young children didn’t want the expensive good quality steaks, they wanted the cheap hot dogs. Their immature taste buds didn’t know that steak was the better meat. God assured Kim that even though she thought the FBI job was the steak job, it was really the hot dog job and if she could just trust Him with this move to Papua to be a dorm Mom…..she would know in time that “Dorm Mom” was the steak job.
And so there we sat on worn out rattan furniture. Fans blowing on us to keep us cool. The tropical trees and mountains displaying their brilliant greenery out the window. The faithful house helpers working to make this home of 17 run smoothly. Mopping floors, doing laundry, cooking lunch. 30 minutes and our time is up. We push the clock…..because there is more to be shared. Tears well up in Kim’s eyes and my face tingles and tears merge from my eyes too. It’s been two years. Kim’s days are now overflowing with being Mom to 3 real children and 12 fake children. Cooking for them. Crying with them. Praying and dreaming together. Figuring out life and faith, side by side. Is this significant? Wasn’t being an FBI agent more significant? But God has shown Kim over and over and over again that she is eating STEAK. It is not for now for all those stories to be told. That is for her dorm kids to tell, one day. But Kim NOW knows that two more years in the FBI would have been too late for some of “her” kids and she LOVES being “their” Mom.