Saturday, July 28, 2012

city girl, country girl

do you ever think about what your life will look like in five years?

i think about this all the time.  probably because it is so uncertain what the future hold for us.

the only thing that IS certain is that our lives will most likely look very different from how they look now.  alex, esther and i (and any other children we will have by then) will almost definitely (hopefully!) be in another country doing mission work. between now and then, we have the big decision of what country we will choose to live in.

but the bigger question (in my mind) is this: will we live in the city or a rural area?

ministry wise, there are many advantages to big cities.  over half of the world's population now lives in major cities, and the numbers are growing (although some believe that this will eventually shrink again at some point).  cities are strategic: reach a city with the good new of jesus, and you will reach the surrounding region.  paul and the apostles knew this, which was why they targeted major cities for their ministry work, including rome, jerusalem, ephesus, galatia, thessalonica, etc.  cities often have large concentrations of people living in need, with opportunities abounding for doing things like loving on orphans (one of the things we could see ourselves doing overseas).

on a personal level, there are many reasons why i would love to live in a major city.  i have always lived in cities, and for most of my time since graduating i have lived in major cities (berlin and the LA metro area).  one of the things i love about cities is that you can easily walk to places you need to go, such as parks or the store for errands.  cities also tend to have pretty good public transportation, which i like to use.  in cities there is always so much going on, and so many options for how to spend your time. alex and i love to go to coffee shops, and with the advent of starbucks, i would guess that every major city in the world now has multiple cafes/coffee shops.  furthermore, though we continue to pray for esther's healing, we may need to live in a major city (or at least near one) so that she can get the medical care she needs, unless God chooses to heal her before we go overseas.

but the other side of my heart sees us living in a more rural area.

ministry wise, rural areas are important to reach in addition to cities.  many missionaries are willing to live in major cities, which usually have modern/western amenities and a fairly high standard of living.  but rural areas often don't have these things, and day to day living is harder.  God has brought us through many things that i could see making us more fit for flourishing in this kind of lifestyle than others might.  in addition, many of the world's unreached peoples are in rural area.  the lack of education in these areas make them a great place to do poverty alleviation type ministries, which is an open door to also teaching about the gospel.

on a personal level, there are many reasons that i could see us living in a rural area.  currently we own chickens, and hope to get goats eventually and maybe other animals.  growing our own food is also a priority for us.  these things are difficult or even impossible to do in cities, but are possible and even sometimes necessary in the countryside.  furthermore, part of me would love to get away from all the pollution/noise/people that fill up cities.  since i desire to live frugally and healthfully, i already make most of our food from scratch, and make homemade cleaning products and health/beauty products.  certain aspects of living in a remote area would be easy for us to transition into (though i am sure aspects of it would be very hard as well.)

i feel like i am in a good spot.  i am open to where God leads us, and i realize that either way He leads us, there will be sacrifice involved (though He will also lavish his grace on us and give us things that we want as well).

in the next year we are hoping to take trips to mexico city and the philippines, and possibly even india to start getting a better idea of where we might end up.  hopefully by this time next year we will have more clarity about our future.

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