Just four years later, they were at one of those old style Baptist missions conferences. The pastor gave an altar call for those who were called to serve in missions. I'm sure "People Need the Lord" would have been playing, had it been written then.
My parents were convicted and went forward.
My mom especially was terrified. This was way before short-term trips where future missionaries can scope out mission fields and get used to travel before committing their lives to deepest darkest Africa.
My mom says she kept hoping that God would keep them from going. But He did not. Her mother--my grandmother--was so furious that she even consulted a lawyer to see about getting the grandchildren taken away from them. For our entire first term, my grandmother did not write to us even one time.
I had just turned six years old when we left. My dad left a lucrative position as a chief pharmacist for Kaiser, to train nationals at a small mission hospital. My mom says she cried every night for the first six months. But I had no idea. To me, she was still my happy and energetic mom. And I loved Liberia.
My parents were faithful and they persevered. Two years turned into six and Liberia became our home. I spend the bulk of my childhood under the palm trees.
And they gave their daughter the best gifts they could have: a love for Jesus, a passion for missions, and the most amazing childhood a kid could ask for.
From the time we went back to the States when I was a sophomore in high school, I wanted to go back to Africa. And though God took me through some long years of lessons to get there, He did indeed bring me back.
I am eternally grateful for the parents God gave me.
Even now, their sacrifices continue, because their only grandchildren are 10,000 miles away. Yet from the beginning, despite their heartache, they have given us total support and encouragement.
But that doesn't take away the pain of separation. So any time we are together is especially sweet. It had been a year since we've seen my Mom and two years since we've seen my Dad.
So you could say that last week was a great week.
My children wept when they left.
Their legacy goes on.