I recall a time my faith was really tested back in August 2019. Through that testing, God reminded me again that He is an all-powerful, omniscient God who is orchestrating a purpose for my life.
I’m a missionary kid (MK), and my family had recently moved from a small East Asian town to one of the largest cities in the world.
My initial thoughts were that it was too large, too crowded and too western.
I loved East Asian culture – I still do – and our new home city wasn’t like the other East Asian towns I loved. So, it’s not an exaggeration to say that I despised the place – at least at first.
Slowly, I began to fall in love with the sights, my apartment complex, the beautiful trees and weather, and the delicious culinary selection. My family and I made countless memories laughing at the dinner table, touring the city and enjoying sunny days. I came to appreciate it, genuinely thankful for God’s provision.
After only four months in this city, my dad received a call from one of his IMB colleagues offering him a position that would eventually move us elsewhere.
When I heard the news, my heart plummeted, racing with questions, pounding with dread.
“We’ve been offered a job that will eventually move us to Taiwan,” my parents told me and my brother.
“Why would you even consider it?” I asked.
“It suits Dad’s giftings,” my mom replied.
“You’re serious?” I responded.
“Yes,” they answered.
“Here we go again,” I thought.
Instantly, I compiled a mental list titled, “Why we should definitely not move to Taiwan.” I loathed the serious looks on my parents’ faces. I hated to think that they were actually considering this.
“We just got settled here,” I journaled afterwards. “We just painted the walls. We just hung up my room décor. We just organized a cleaning system. We just got here.”
My heart felt 10 times too heavy. Anxiety stilled my ability to speak. My unwillingness to accept this was clear.
But God works in mysterious ways, and over the next few days, a strange, comforting peace smoothed the worry from my mind, and I could not ignore the small voice inside assuring me of God’s sovereignty. It would take forever to explain all the little things He put in place to convince me to trust Him, but the most important thing was that God quieted my tumultuous thoughts and doubts. He replaced worry with peace, and anger with trust.
I brought my convictions to my parents. We prayed. I think we often overlook the importance of prayer and the direction it provides. It certainly provided a lot of direction in this situation.
Days later, after many tears in the dark and much consultation with the Lord, a decision was reached: We were moving.
By the end of December 2019, we found ourselves in Taiwan, ready (or not) to start anew. We had lived in our current city for a grand total of five months.
My first few months spent in Taiwan were plagued with confusion and frustration. The gravity of our move caught up to me. Everything about this tiny island was different, and it aggravated me.
I wasn’t used to the quieter, more reserved culture of the Taiwanese. I missed the traffic-swamped streets of our old place, where car drivers honked all they wanted, and people could jaywalk.
I’d soon come to realize that it was all a part of a plan – one grand, masterpiece of a plan that could have only been orchestrated by the greatest Storyteller to ever exist.
Only months later, an unidentified virus had plunged the entire world into a state of panic.
COVID-19 dramatically affected families and individuals across the globe – including so many of my MK friends. Multiple other complications regarding fellow missionaries sprang up, creating one gigantic headache for everyone involved. Consequently, many families I knew suddenly evacuated or relocated, taking only their most essential and precious possessions with them. Everyone lost something. During the beginning of the pandemic, COVID massively infiltrated almost every country … save one, small, East Asian island off the coast of China – Taiwan.
Talk about God’s perfect timing.
I was shocked. We were all shocked. I kept thinking, “How in the world is my family worthy of being spared all that heartache that others are experiencing?” The answer is, we weren’t. God had an epic story to bring Himself glory amid the impending turmoil, even if that meant guiding us away from one city to another. My faith also flourished as a result. Experiencing how God can fashion something beautiful from my sorrow has taught me to better trust Him, because I know that He knows my future. He holds it securely in His hands.
So, when my spirit is crushed because I am yet again called to leave what I love, I must remember that in the midst of all the chaos, there’s a purpose that has been fashioned and perfected to glorify the greatest Storyteller in history. He is best-equipped to plan my life – now and forevermore.
Editor’s Note: COVID-19 eventually impacted Taiwan, though reported cases and the number of reported COVID-related deaths remain lower than many other countries. Fortunately, the Greenbays haven’t had to move.
Jasmine Greenbay* (name changed) lives with her family in East Asia, where her parents serve as missionaries.