When I was young(er), I thought to myself, "I can't wait to get to leave all this junk behind and get to the mission field." Often looking through eyes of scorn for those who would not leave the materialsm and comforts of western urban life, I now see how precious some of these little things are - things that I'm going to miss. Now that I'm closer that ever before, just weeks away from stepping out to begin my 3-year assignment in Thailand under Korean church and agency, I realize just how hard it is to let go of the things which bring us comfort.
I'm sitting in the National Library in Singapore. Air conditioned, quite, peaceful, free wireless internet access. All that anyone could ever want or need is found in this very city which I have grown to love. The convenience of daily errands, the efficiency of services, the integrity of public transportation, the food, the movies, the skilfully crafted landscaping and the tranquility of safety.
I'll surely miss these things. I doubt Thailand has even half of these things.
But, one cannot deny one of the main sources of fulfillment and happiness: purpose. I know that God has called me for a season of missionary service. Perhaps he does not give everyone a burden for those who have never heard the gospel, but I'm certain that he's given it to me. Like Frodo Baggins I carry it around my neck while it brings to me places of terrifying uncertainty and danger. I could wish that I were a yuppie in the city, marry a bonny lass who catches my eye, apportion some time to church ministry so as to inspire the next generation, take up a hobby, plan the next holiday overseas. But I cannot. It's just not me - at least not for now.
At the same time, I, in no way, want to come across as some super-spiritual person. I know with certainty that trials and temptations will buffet me on every side. I'm not even entirely sure that I will prevail. I've read and heard enough people who could not hack it. Why should I be exempt from statistics?