I remember so vividly the night a year ago that I surrendered to serve full-time on the foreign mission field. It was a decision that had been in the works for some time, however, it was a specific time and place that my mind will always remember. I was driving home from a class I was taking at a local bible college when the exact moment of my surrender happened. Once I arrived home, I sat in my car for hours sobbing. I knew I would go, and I never for a second questioned what God was asking of me. However, I knew from the very moment of my surrender that the most difficult part of what God was requiring from me would be when the time came for me to prepare to tell my children and their families goodbye.

I have chosen to go ahead and write about this part of my journey even though I have 3 days left with my family. I believe the closer the time comes for me to leave, the more difficult it will be for me to be able to share, and since this blog is dedicated to my journey as a missionary, it is important to convey the depths of how my heart aches to be leaving my family.

This last week began the process of saying goodbyes to my church family and closest friends. Also goodbyes to my brothers and sister. As the week progressed I found myself overcome with agony of what still lay ahead for me…so much distress that I didn’t know what words to pray. Holy Spirit reminded me of the strength I regain if I am struggling in a fast, I go to the Word and it helps me overcome. I went and sat on the sofa with my bible and in all honesty, I simply didn’t know what to read, I just began reading where it opened up, then I flipped on to some of my favorite passages. As I read, my emotions began to be more controllable. Reading the Word helped me regain the focus I needed to cry out to God for help.

I began to pray, seeking comfort from the only One who could give it to me. I cried out in despair and shared with the Lord that this was too hard, I could not bear the agony any longer. I told Him that I had been obedient and to the best of my ability I had done All required of me, yet, I begged Him to make the process of the final goodbyes to my family more bearable.

He is such a good Father, He loves us so much. He very gently reminded me that the reason it hurts so deeply to part from my family is because we are a family that truly loves deeply.

He reminded me of how deeply the children in Uganda must have loved their parents and their deaths brought permanent goodbyes. I began to think about these children who will hear the gospel of Jesus Christ through the work God is doing in my life. What will I say to them one day when they fully grasp that their parents and most likely grandparents died without knowing Christ, when they fully understand that they will never see them again.

Although leaving my family in 3 days will be the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, I know that if it is Gods will, we will be reunited for a visit in 9 months, and if the Lord should call me home, we will still be reunited one day in heaven.

This process brought me back to the realities of why I must go. I don’t want any more people to die without Christ. I don’t want any more families separated for eternity. What is 9 months of my life compared to eternity … how very selfish it would be of me to stay here and not go and share.

I will not pretend that I am not still dreading the heartache of those last moments with my family, but I can honestly share that I have been strengthened through this and I believe I have taken yet another step of faith in my walk with the Lord.

Love to all,

Joy Breedlove

Missionary – East Africa