When You Don’t Know Where This Path Leads

Lilias Trotter, a worker in North Africa, once said, “You can never tell to what untold glories any little humble path may lead if you follow far enough.”

And as you already know, the path of getting ready to go to the field is full of humble moments. Moments of asking for support, asking for help, asking for prayer. Moments of selling your belongings, watching people sort through your things, storing boxes in attics, packing suitcases and saying goodbye to everything you know.

As you journey on that path, one of the greatest challenges of all emerges…The challenge of staying on the path, following far enough, and humbly bending in faith to the will of the One who called you. But, it is a beautiful challenge, one that in Lilias’ quote sounds quite amazing and inspiring, yes?

But to be honest, the whole “following the humble path far enough” was difficult for me. It wasn’t an obedience issue… I was ready to go! The truth was that for me, the path ahead was this nebulous, mysterious fog that had no timeline or instructions and it overwhelmed me to the core of my soul.

The task was just SO huge! Not only was it huge, it was also very difficult to find good information as to HOW to move my family overseas.

I had a ton of practical questions. My mind circled and circled around what we should bring, what we should sell, what we should store, what we needed for paperwork, what we should leave with family and on and on it went. Some questions were country specific and some things were universal. Some questions were as simple as, “How on earth do I live in a van and hotel rooms with my family for the next year while we travel from church to church?”

Then, it seemed as if all who answered my questions, answered them differently! The answers were endless, often outdated and sometimes not a good fit at all for our situation.

I wanted to follow the path all the way to our destination but wow, it sure was hard to figure out how to actually get there!

My brain began to take that not-so-little, oh-so-humbling path and break it down into smaller pieces. I had to look at the massive task of getting my family ready to move overseas and attack it like any other major project in my life. I needed to organize it, manage it and just jump in. I had to start on the path.

Because I process things through writing, I used my blog as an outlet to organize my thoughts, plan our move and work out the details. Through that birthed quite a few practical, how-to resources that were really just my notes in print {edited a little, of course}. Through those resources being made available on my blog, I began to realize that I wasn’t alone. There were a lot of new workers walking on the humble path with me, needing the same information I needed. Just like that, we were journeying the little humble path together, charging ahead into the nebulous fog and slowly breaking down the mysteries into something we all could handle.

Slowly but surely the path cleared and eventually my family landed smack dab in the middle of a Paris neighborhood for language school. We followed that path to the end and moved forward on another path, a path that landed us in the desert of Senegal.

If we follow far enough, the path moves ahead and untold glories really do begin to appear.

But first, you have to just jump in. You have to take the first step and start the process. You have to do the next thing. You have to organize, prioritize, and trust that God is right there with you in that nebulous, mysterious place of getting ready to move your family overseas.

I hope that these resources will be a blessing to you on your path. You’ll find very practical things to do, to remember, to plan and to implement as you get things in place for your overseas move. I’m praying that you’ll also find some encouragement along the way!

Tips for Moving Overseas with a companion PDF download – the nitty gritty of lawyers, document translation, packing and a whole bunch of necessary information!

22 Things I’d Tell A New Worker – resources and encouragement

The Days Before We Flew – literally what we did in the days before we flew to France

The Ultimate Guide to Your Overseas Tool Belt – read this before you decide what to bring or pack!

Other Resources – another compilation of resources organized by topic

And please remember…

You are not alone. You can do this one step at a time. You can move forward on the path, follow all the way and see untold glories unfold.

“Praise be to the Lord; to God our Savior who daily bears our burdens.” Ps 68:19

“For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear; I will help you.” Is 41:13

What are you learning as you begin the path of moving your family overseas?

What is something that you still need help with as you humbly follow?

8 Comments

  1. Lindee August 4, 2016

    We have been working in m-work over 40 yrs. We have been on this path 11 yrs and I can add a few things to your list. We had no idea that as we worked with folks there would be so much pain or conflict with those who said they supported us. In the end they simply left us one the field with no way to get “home” (wherever that is). Since we are not traditional, professional, paid m’s, we are stuck.

    No one wants to tell the truth and prepare people for the reality of betrayal or division or even the cynicism that creeps in. No one talks about the negatives, we just let people dive in head long and hope they survive.

    Most days I feel like I am trudging this path alone with no food or water. Some days I just sit and cry, but I continue on the path because I have no other option. The painted smile wheres thin and these days in my heart I have the story of Teresa of Avila resounding in my heart when she said “God, if this is the way you treat your friends, its no wonder you have so few”.

    1. Jenilee August 4, 2016

      There is definitely a huge side of this life that is often left out of the training manuals and seminars. It is hard to talk about the really hard stuff. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I specifically will be praying for God to meet you in a special way today knowing that He DOES see you in this time and season. Thankfully, as part of what blogs like mine and sites like Velvet Ashes and so many others are trying to do, is to better communicate the real side of overseas work and bring encouragement, resources and hope to those working overseas. I appreciate you being part of that conversation!

  2. Danielle Wheeler August 4, 2016

    This is so encouraging and so practically helpful, Jenilee. Thank you for offering up your organization skills!

    1. Jenilee August 6, 2016

      so glad our journeys can all be a help to each other!

  3. Phyllis August 6, 2016

    And I wonder about the “untold glories.” What was she talking about? We’ve been here a long time, long enough to have actually forgotten all these details about moving, but it’s still a life of quietly moving along a humble path. I love this life! But it’s not exactly what I would describe as glory. 🙂

    1. Jenilee August 6, 2016

      For me, I’m beginning to see the “untold glories” as things that God is doing within my heart as He grows and teaches me. I’m sure there are other things happening around us that we don’t even see… some we do see and can write home about them. But I love how God uses such a beautiful, humble, difficult path to strengthen, challenge and work in my heart. That on my humble path, I can bring glory to Him… I’m sure you have stories of that as well!

  4. Denise August 10, 2016

    Oh! I have bookmarked this page, as I feel it will be a lifeline to help me be organized in our coming year of (with hope) transitioning to the field. You speak my love language of checklists!! Thank you for being so open with your processes and ideas. Blessings!

    1. Jenilee August 11, 2016

      Oh I’m so glad!! Let me know if you have questions or thoughts to add! I do love a good, solid checklist 🙂

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