So, what are you doing here in Brazil?

What on most days would be a very normal question, today it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I found myself pausing a little too long to come up with the perfect answer.  When the words finally began to flow, they sputtered out in an unrecognizable voice.

How much detail should I give this stranger?  How much background do I share so she can understand how I ended up here.  I don’t want her to end up pitying me for having to leave Africa.  I don’t think I can take a sad face right now.  I wouldn’t mind a hug though.

What if she’s an atheist?  Then, I shouldn’t get into our ministry in Africa.  I’ll just say I’m living in Brazil at the moment.  But am I truly “living” here in Brazil?  Our plans aren’t to stay here permanently.  We want to return to Africa at some point.  But then if I’ve explained why we had to leave Africa, then she’ll think I’m a basket case for wanting to return. No good.

Just stick with Brazil, Stef.  Ok…so,  I’ll explain that we are teaching at our missions training school.  Ugh…that face.  Confusion meets pity smile.  She’s not a believer.  Oh well.  I probably should’ve just said my husband is Brazilian and we’re living in Brazil for a while.  Duh!

Whew!  This is what I go through many times when we’re in town…or out of town…or traveling, etc.  This confusion isn’t just on the faces of strangers.  It also bubbles up in our hearts and minds at times when:

*we know we have a certain kitchen utensil but can’t remember which country it’s in

*we aren’t sure what next semester’s schooling is gonna look like for our kids because we don’t know what country we’ll be living in during “those months”

*we don’t know whether to send our oldest ahead to his boarding school in August because come January we’re not sure yet if we’ll be back in Africa

*we don’t know what to say when asked how long we’ll be in the US next time (because we don’t know what the next step is)

We’ve heard the fire alarm go off but everything within us wants to run back inside and try and rescue as many as we can before it’s too late.

We often feel like we’re driving down a one way street; like we’re swimming against the current.

Our desire to return has only intensified despite the pause button being pressed on our ministry in Burkina Faso and the horrible news we hear almost daily now.  We continually ask God to give us peace if we are to return.

Peace isn’t the absence of stress or conflict, but the assurance that He is there with you in the storm.  Doesn’t this unabated desire to return sound like His peace?

God has been showing me that we needed some pruning and molding as individuals and as a couple. He has been faithful to shine His light on our dark places and to teach us to depend more fully on Him during our time here in Brazil.

No pauses are wasted.  He may be silent, but He is never inactive.

So when someone asks me what we’re doing here in Brazil, I know what my answer will be from now on:  BOOTCAMP!  I may not know where or when the next battle will be, but I will be ready!!