Skip to main content

“Listen to My Voice”

By July 2, 2024July 9th, 2024No Comments

Five months ago, I moved with my family from Ohio to East Africa. We left in the dark on an icy morning, and arrived more than 24 hours later into the blazing sun of noon in the desert.

The first months in our new home felt fast-paced and full of urgent tasks: buy furniture, find silverware, figure out what to do when the water tank is empty. We wear different clothes, eat different food, and feel like toddlers as we figure out how to navigate the world around us. We are less fluent in our new language than our toddler is in English. But five months in, we have settled into a routine. Now, my heart is catching up to my body.

This is the eighth time I have moved to a new city. This is the sixth language I have stumbled through while buying vegetables. I miss sitting around a table with family; I want to see daffodils peeking out of last year’s mulch; I long to sing to my Creator in a room full of people I know and love deeply. Sometimes I wonder why I signed up for this—if my husband and I made the right choice for our kids. These things are worth grieving. So why, then, are they also worth leaving?

These things are worth grieving. So why, then, are they also worth leaving?

Humans are created for deep connection; life is good when we are deeply known by others. God gives us earthly and spiritual families so we can understand his Trinitarian nature—so we can understand that he chooses to give himself away in love. This love finds its ultimate expression in Jesus, who gave himself in love for us. He asks his followers to do the same. “I have other sheep that are not of this fold,” says Jesus in John 10. “I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.”

How can we stay in the fold, when we know that there are still places that need to hear the voice of the Shepherd?

Leaving the places I know and the people I love is not easy. But somehow, three to six months later, I wake up and realize that I’m doing okay. This morning, my daughter and I walked to the neighborhood shop and bought salt without using English. On the way back, two kids called my daughter’s name, and she happily waved back and exclaimed that her friends wanted to play. My baby bounces up and down with delight as she crams handfuls of rice into her mouth. We are slowly building relationships with our team through joyful moments and moments of shared pain. These things are worth celebrating.

In each new, lonely place I have found myself, the Shepherd has gotten there first. Every time I follow him out of my familiar fold, I get a little better at hearing his voice. He is calling for his lost sheep; I want to follow close to him so that those around me can hear his voice, too.

Gloria, Luke, and their two children are part of a team that works to plant churches and cultivate regenerative agriculture in their country’s capital city. They are focused on land restoration through raising livestock, and hope to provide jobs for local believers while also creating a platform for discipleship and outreach. As you consider the lost sheep among whom the Shepherd is calling you to live, please remember to pray for this family and other RI workers around the globe as they build community and share the love of Jesus.

Leave a Reply