Saturday, November 22, 2008

Not the Path I Chose...

....but I must submit to His will regardless.

Those of you who read our newsletters might have caught on to the fact that we were planning our next Home Assignment from March to May of next year. For the past six months, it's what we've been planning. Our lease is up in February, and our landlord plans to totally renovate our house (remember the cracks in the walls?) during the months we would be gone. God graciously provided us with two men who have been rapidly moving foward with plans to come out here and take over Gil's Bible classes while we were gone.

But we found out yesterday that God didn't provide us with permission to take Josiah to the States with us. And obviously, that means none of us are going.

I don't know if I have mentioned that Josiah is not adopted yet. Tanzanian law requires that you foster the child for three months, and then apply for adoption. All of it is really a formality, but a lengthy one. Josiah probably won't be officially adopted for another 8 months or so.

So, in order to travel to the States with him in March, we needed special permission from social welfare. With Grace, we got that permission twice with no problem. Lots of families we know have gotten that permission with no problem. So we assumed it would be the same for Josiah. I never once thought there would be a problem.

Then our lawyer told us the bad news. The last family who applied for permission to travel with their foster child totally blew it. They used entirely culturally inappropriate methods of manipulation to procure their letter of permission from the commissioner. They got their letter, but the commissioner was then so ticked off (he was never Prince Charming to begin with), that he declared that no more permission would be granted for families to travel with foster children.

We tried anyway. And yesterday, we found out that he meant what he said. Our permission to travel with Josiah in March was denied.

This means we have to wait until he is officially adopted before we can take our Home Assignment. But the hard part about that is that we can't totally predict when that will happen. Our lawyer told us that we can safely assume it will be completed a year from now.

Yesterday was a hard day as the realization hit me that we won't be going home in March. I've been looking foward to it for a long time. The coming of Thanksgiving and Christmas always makes me think of home and family, and I was telling myself that "it would only be three more months!" Plus, Gil leaves tomorrow for the States for two weeks to attend his brother's wedding. I would have loved to be there and am so bummed that I am missing it. So you could say that I've been a little homesick lately. Not a great time to find out that it will be another year before we can go home.

I should clarify. Tanzania is home now. I do love living here and I love what we do here. But the pain of being so far from family never completely goes away. Especially now that we have kids. My kids have such wonderful grandparents, and it breaks my heart that they are separated from each other most of the time. That's the hardest part about being a missionary, and the hardest part about getting the bad news yesterday.

But of course, now we have to deal with logistics too. Rearranging dates, contacting our landlord, contacting the two wonderful men who are set to come out here, figuring out how we can reschedule everything.

It's not the path I would have chosen. I don't understand why God answered some prayers about this Home Assignment but not others. But I do know that He was capable. And thus, I know that His will is perfect, He has His reasons, and I will do best by submitting to His plan as greater than mine.

I think I am just about done throwing myself a pity-party, which is why I chose not to write yesterday. I know that there are far greater disappointments or sufferings in life, and that I have no reason to doubt His will.

I am thankful that we serve a God whose ways are greater than ours.
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