Josh and April Amiot are missionaries in Costa Rica. They are from the state of Minnesota. Here is a recent Facebook exchange between us related to raising kids in a third world culture and the sacrifices involved.
Warning: Long, personal post. Tonight as I was tucking Lucy into bed she burst into tears. She said she was homesick for Minnesota. I crawled into bed with her and cuddled her while she sobbed. The sense of loss that we feel as missionaries (and missionary kids) is enormous. I don’t think any of us will ever get over the trauma completely because we can never regain all that we’ve lost. The best we can do is to find replacement friends and family here on the field, but even that solution is flawed because of how frequently people come and go out of our lives here on the field. No ONE and no THING is forever.
Most of the time I can function with this dull ache in the background of my emotions. But other times it takes my breath away and I feel like I’m balancing on the precipice of a yawning black abyss of loss and sorrow. I grieve deeply for all that I have lost, and all that my children have lost, and all that my parents have lost for the sake of my obedience to Christ. And I am reminded that Jesus warned us about this cost of following him, this cross I am called to carry. He said that hard thing when he said, ” Unless you hate your father and mother and brothers and sisters, you are not worthy of following me.” And it means unless you are willing to wound your most cherished loved ones for the sake of following Christ, you are not worthy. And it tears my heart out. Then I go to Jesus with my grief and my tears and he tells me, “I am worth it. Just wait and see.”
So I trust Him. I trust that He is indeed worth what I’ve done to my kids and my family by moving them to another country where we will always be foreigners. It is in this crucible of grieving for my losses that I most identify with Christ who gave up Heaven to come find us witless, lost sheep without a shepherd. And He tells me, “I am worth it ALL.”
I can’t let myself think about this, April. Not on this Sunday night after being in three churches throughout the day in the Peruvian highlands preaching my heart out. Too many miles, way too many countries, and tonight up in the Andes, alone, working the Call in Peru. It’s just too much to process.
So I’m not going to think about it.
Yet just below the surface, recorded deep in my heart, are the sounds of the quiet sobs of my Elizabeth Shields Farina. We had left our beloved Chile for the last time to go “home” to the Twin Cities to attend North Central University.
She had given herself completely in our great church in Santiago. She’d gained the love and respect of even the humblest kids in our blowin’ and goin’ youth group. At Santiago College, her Chilean High School, she became fast friends with the daughters of six elite ambassadors from around the world assigned to Chile.
Then suddenly, in a single 9 hour all night flight back into the U.S. it was over. Over forever. As in … Forever.
My precious Elizabeth sobbed that night in a borrowed bed in the house of our friends, Stan and Karen Stone. And I held her hand, & stroked her hair back from her tear stained face as we prayed.
But way down deep inside her Dear ‘Ol Dad grieved even deeper, because soon my little missionary kid girl would go off to college and one day her mom and I would be alone again. You know, kinda like tonight here in this godforsaken city in the highlands of Peru thousands of miles away from those who mean the most on planet earth.
All for the sake of the Call. Because we are compelled to go despite the hidden price.
No, I’m sorry. I’m just not going to think about it.
Yet through my own tears and experience of cradling a broken heart, I hold you and Lucy up to “the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles.” II Cor. 1:3
And as my eyes blur off to sleep there is a tinge of hope that will carry you through. “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Psalm 30:5
April and Lucy, we’ve been down what Robert Frost called the road less traveled as well.
But I forgot to mention something: there will be a lot of beautiful tomorrows. So, at the end of the day…
I’ll think about that.
We love you.
Your Minnesota colleague,