Growing up in a Church I knew what missionaries were, in fact I remember, when I was very small, every few months or so, members from the Church would return from Spain, or Turkey, or Nepal, and later on South Africa.
I don't remember exactly what the thought was, but I remember seeing them, and understanding what they did, and respecting them for it, but I thought they were a bit crazy. I didn't think I could ever do what they were doing, I loved my home, I loved things being unchanging, I felt comfortable, and I couldn't imagine myself EVER wanting to move country!
I must have been very small when I thought all this, maybe 7 or 8...and the same thoughts have always been in the back of my mind, I think. As I grew a bit older the idea did begin to appeal to me a bit more, but I still thought it to be rather crazy!
And then I started planning to go to the Dominican Republic for two weeks on a short-term mission, but still, though I considered it might give me some direction in what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, I never thought that I would want to move there.
I do though, I completely want to. I went for two weeks, and I fell head-over-heels in love with the place, my heart is still over there, as much as I try to pull it back so that I can live in the now, it is very much over there. I love the place, and miss so much about it.
When I really think about all that involves I get really, really scared, and feel a tiny bit tempted to just carry on with the usual pattern of life here, at home, but what are dreams if they are not dangerous? If I wasn't scared would I be dreaming big enough?
I can't imagine that even these crazy ideas of moving to the Dominican Republic are big enough really, and if I am completely, down-to-the-depths-of-my-heart honest, I am not sure they will ever be realised.
Maybe my desires will be completely different in a year or two, but right now, in this moment, as I sit here and write, that is what I want to do.
I want to move 4,307 miles across a GIANT ocean of salt-water, to a place where I can speak not more than five words of the local language, and a place where the food is not my favourite thing, and the heat is not something I have always been suited to, and the illnesses, and the costs of it all, and the sights, the smells, the dangers...it is all completely VERY scary, so YES, I am very scared! I am scared to dream this dream, but no matter how hard I try, I cannot get it out of my head, and I am thinking, maybe I shouldn't, what is the problem with dreaming?
I am always telling people to dream bigger, so maybe I should listen to myself for once, and let myself find freedom and release in dreaming dreams that make me smile, that make me want to get up the next day!
My dream, right now, is to be an overseas missionary in the Dominican Republic. There is so much more to it than just that, but stripped back, that is what I would like, I would like to love people, help people, enable people, be a Kingdom-builder, in the Dominican Republic.
I want to do what God wants, I don't feel like He is against the idea, but I don't really know, all I do know is that I HAVE to trust in Him, trust that He knows my dreams, and hopes for the future, and trust that He will fulfil them even more than I can imagine possible! That is an exciting thought!!