Ten years is a long time. In November 2007, Spiderman, Shrek the 3rd and Transformers were at the top of the box office. At this time, there was no such thing as an iPhone and Blackberry seemed to be a space-aged tool even with slow mobile data and its physical keyboard. A lot can happen, and has happened, over the last decade. But for us, it’s less about changes in technology or what’s playing at the theaters, but more about what we are seeing and experiencing.
|Macy, Jill & Gavin - 2007|
Ten years ago, the Lord took us from Kansas City to El Paso, where we worked along both sides of the border, spoke Spanish, and were mostly involved in youth and work teams in our ministry. Five years ago, the Lord took us from El Paso to Congo where we speak French and barely remember any Spanish. We move about Central Africa regularly and are involved in developing leaders across four countries. Ten years ago, we traveled 16 hours by car to get to our mission field. Today, we travel 40 hours by plane. We first went out with a 10 week old and now have two children, ages 8 and 10. Our lives have changed so much since we first hit the ground as rookie missionaries. Adapting to different cultures is not easy to do, especially when they are so vastly different.
|Jill, Connor, Gavin & Macy - 2017|
Even though we have multiplied and changed our appearance a bit on the outside, even though our surroundings and areas of ministry have morphed over the years, the biggest transformations have been going on internally. God has showed us amazing things and stretched us when we needed to grow. God has humbled us and made us like babies so that we may learn anew. The Spirit has led us through difficult times and allowed us to experience renewal and strengthening.
I have so much I would say to our young selves if I could. I would correct mistakes, teach myself patience, and insist on the importance of prayer just to name a few. Since that is not a possibility, I will take this moment to give some advice to our next-ten-year-selves: "Gavin and Jill, this job is about people, so make time for relationships. Continue to learn as you grow in the faith, into your assignments, and as foreigners in another land. Spend more time in prayer."