I feel that I ought to offer a sort of disclaimer; that I do not take the telling of these things lightly. I am fully aware of the effects they might have on the other people involved if told poorly, with an attitude of blame-shifting or seeking justification. That is not at all what I desire. I hope you can see a desire for transparency in these posts, not a compulsion to defend myself. I’m a flawed, weak, stumbling person, being sanctified bit by bit through the work of the Spirit, ministering understanding and grace and love to me. So I write these posts in humility, simply desiring to be heard by the people I care about, the people in my life that care about what has happened to me and have been in the dark for months now.
Alright, disclaimer complete.
A little bit of background might be in order, since my friends in Kansas City knows that part of my story, and many in my FPO community know the Richmond part, but there are gaps in the narrative for each group. In the spring of 2009, God clearly shut the door on my application process to become a Journeyman with the IMB — the organization had sharp decrease in giving that year and had to cut job opportunities. I moved back to KC after college, found a job and a new community at Redeemer KC, the most loving and genuine group of people I’ve encountered in any one church. In the middle of those two initial post-college years, I started volunteering with refugees in Kansas City and began to feel called to living and ministering cross-culturally. In the fall of 2010, I reopened my Jman application, interviewed, was accepted, and last July — finally — left home to train and then head across the world for 2 years in Central Asia. Everyone in my life was affirming of this decision and calling. The Father seemed to open every door.
Except that from the first day of training, the narrative of those two years with the IMB began to diverge from my expectations. I was assigned another girl as a partner, with whom I was expected to study, live, eat, sleep, teach, and minister for the next 24 months. We made each other miserable. We pre-judged each other. We came from the most disparate backgrounds imaginable and couldn’t overcome the cultural barriers between us, not to mention the wounds in her that I seemed to brush up against unknowingly. After only two weeks, I was in retreat, stung by her behavior toward me, frustrated, discouraged. Seeking counseling help through the organization proved fruitless. One counselor expressed deep concerns about her fitness for being on the field, but that was not communicated to anyone else outside that counseling session. I felt powerless to do anything about the situation, even after doing every single thing others counseled me to do or say. I begged God to forgive me for my insensitivity and tried harder to reach out to her. I repented to her for any unkind words. I searched my heart. I prayed and fasted. I clung to the thought that God was sovereign even in the choice of partners for the field, so He must be using M in my life somehow.
Eventually, training ended. I tried to be optimistic about the remaining 22 months — but the reality was that once in Astana, I would have no community around me to buffer the situation. It would most likely be a far more difficult situation. Little did I know.