• Emily Koelling


Today was a hard morning. There wasn’t anything that caused it. I just woke up missing home. Missing the actual home we left, where we brought our girls home to and raised them for 7 years there. Where we spent hours in the pool in the blazing hot Texas sun with friends. Missing the friends we left, missing the church we left, missing the school we left, and missing the family we left. Just a tearful morning of missing. I knew these mornings were coming and that it is a good thing to remember what we left behind. I haven’t cried this much since the Houston airport after we checked in. Well that’s not true, I had a good long cry after our first team left, because with it they took some of our dearest friends that we call family. And it was a strong marker of being truly alone in a new country.

There is so much I have already learned in 7 weeks here in Rwanda. I’ve been reminded that we lived in a hurry sick world that contained a schedule full to the brim. A schedule that made me hurry my children in frustration. A schedule that sometimes made me feel guilty for missing out on field trips or class parties. Or just missing because my “yes” came too often or without praying. But it was also the schedule that the Lord had for us in that season, and we loved it. My girls thrived in school, my friends filled the gaps when I couldn’t attend parties, my work was more fulfilling than it had ever been. In fact, leaving my full time job was one of my hardest acts of surrendering to the Lord in this process. I loved the pace, the friends, the patients, the security it brought financially. Adam was in a season of ministry that was a God given gift of growth and preparation that we wouldn’t trade for the world.

Here in Rwanda, you are forced to slow down. Everyone is moving but no one is in a hurry. It can take hours to accomplish one small task. The first few weeks brought palpable frustration of how things are done. We would comment, “if they would just do it this way, then we could get so much more done.” We learned quickly that we were in for the biggest test of patience and grace-giving ever required of us. The trade off for this lesson was that the Lord has abundantly provided for us. He has provided a new home, new friends, a new school, and a new normal.

But this morning can’t stop at missing what we left. It’s a morning that required me to remember why we came. Matthew 14 is a place that the Lord repeatedly uses to remind me why we came.

Verses 25-33 say this:

And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Jesus said, “Come.” Some have asked how did we know God called us to Africa. A friend of mine was once sarcastically asked by a co-worker, “I mean how do they know they are “called”, did God text them and tell them to move to Africa?” Well don’t I wish it was that easy! It did make me giggle. First and foremost He used scripture. Scripture that was so clear it was almost like a text message, a modern day burning bush. As believers, if we aren’t in His word, we will never clearly know what we are called to. He used people, God fearing men and women that saw and affirmed our love for overseas missions. Leadership and mentors that saw Adam’s love, investment, and vision for missions in Africa. He also used an unusual amount of open doors. Revelations 3:8 says:

“I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door, which no one can shut. For you have only a little strength, yet you have kept My word and have not denied My name.

A believer or not, if you are a person trying to make life decisions, decisions are more easily made when you start a process and there are no major roadblocks. But most importantly, following any calling from the Lord requires FAITH. By grace I was saved through FAITH. FAITH in a God who sent His son to die a death he didn’t deserve so that we may be reconciled to HIM.

God required a YES to get out of the boat and surrender to His calling LONG before He actually revealed it clearly to us. He didn’t give Peter step by step instructions to walk on water. It required FAITH. This is true for all of us. We have to hear Him say “Come” and by FAITH step out of the boat. My favorite quote from Mark Batterson’s Chase the Lion is this: “When everything is said and done, God isn’t going to say, “Well said,” “Well thought,” or “Well planned.” There is only one measuring stick: “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

So while my heart aches for home this morning, it aches more for a greater home. A home where my Father meets me at the gate and says, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

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