Monday, September 18, 2006

Philippines or Ninevah?

So, last week I stumbled upon an exciting possibility for our family. I was searching the net for midwifery supplies and came across a link I hadn't seen titled International Midwifery School. "Earn a degree in midwifery while serving on the mission field". Hmm, sounds interesting. I read the brief description to Caleb while he was watching a movie and he paused the movie and said "let's go!".
See, since we were engaged, we've always talked about serving on the mission field together. We blame it on our dear pastor friend who married us, Jim Kimbriel. He said that the world needs our skills and the work we could do together could be amazing. So, we started searching it out, trying to make it happen. Then, when we started working through the details, we were told, "You need to get out of debt, slow down a little, take your time, maybe the mission field is for the next generation - for your kids." What? OK. So, we set a plan to be out of debt in 5 years which included major budget cutting, living in a quirky 2 bedroom apartment on Zuni st for cheap rent, taking out a loan from our parents and being blessed with proceeds from the sale of the family cabin. As a result, we managed to have 3 kids, allow me to stay at home with them, and pay off our debt (with the exception of 1 school loan) by our 4th anniversary. We let go of our plans to become missionaries and just thought that when and if the time was right, the Lord would let us know.
So, out of nowhere, 4 years later, this drops in our lap. And, for the past week, it's been a bit of an emotional roller coaster. So excited, the romantic idea of becoming a missionary, helping people, travelling across the world, Caleb able to be home and not have to work a corporate job, us being able to partner our skills and affect change in the world. What's stopping us, let's go!

And, then we started to freak out. We looked at Davao City on Google Earth, and started researching the city, the school, reading blogs from current and past students, reading about maternal/infant mortality rates, poverty, sickness, sadness. Could the lord really be leading us to do this?
And then I started getting really sad, thinking about leaving my family, my home, all that is familiar and comfortable (which is really scarey considering that I've only lived outside of Colorado for 1 month - when we went to Utah for the twins' birth, a whole lesson of faith in and of itself - you can read about that story in the August 05 archives of Caleb's blog). 2 whole years that we'll miss. And my friend Brenda said, "What will you miss? In 2 years, we'll still be here, sitting around doing what we're doing. And you will have done something" (that Brenda - I want to be like her).

I started hearing verses in my head "Go into all the world and preach the gospel, sell all you own and come follow me"....blah blah blah. And then I started to feel like Jonah - is this my Ninevah? I've always said that the reason I want to be a midwife is to have a skill that could be used anywhere God called me to go. Anywhere but Asia. I don't know why, just not Asia. Australia, great! England, sure! Colorado, perfect, cushy, nice. Just not Asia. And me, a missionary? My words are being challenged - do I really want to be a midwife so that I can be sent anywhere? I wouldn't say that I'm a Holiday Inn camper, but I do like my stuff and my showers - hot ones. I like to be comfortable and I like my air conditioner. But, I don't like that my son has a hard time even considering giving up 1 of his many toy cars to our neighbor who has none. And I really want our kids to experience loving others as God loves them. Can we do that here? Sure. Will we??

(Photos taken by the Jelsmas and other students currently living and serving in the Philippines and Mercy birth centers)

When I see the pictures of these mamas and babies, the midwives, the birth center, the mountains, the sea - I see myself and my family. I can envision us in this land. I can imagine us addicted to the love of these people, and our Lord.
Through tears in my eyes I looked up at my husband and said, "When I stand before Him, I want to him to recognize me as a good and faithful servant".

Many things to consider and lots of details. Much prayer - Lord, open and close doors as you would lead us. Help us to see your path.

Here's a cool study of the Mercy birth centers


Blogger petra said...

It's so nice to hear your thoughts. Thanks for sharing. I'll be praying for you. I love you.

10:35 AM  
Blogger Nikki said...

Angela, I want to be more like YOU (as you said about Brenda;). Thank you for sharing your heart with me too. I'm praying for you and the fam.
Nikki :)

1:26 PM  
Blogger caleb j seeling said...

i'm excited to begin a new adventure with you! a little freaked too. where's my bedpan?!

10:30 AM  
Blogger Monica Thompson said...

I just happened to fall upon your blog and what a voice from God! I am actually considering going to New Life after I graduate from Moody Bible Institute (in 2 years) These are exactly my fears as I think of going into the mission field. I am always saying I'd be ready to go, but when it really comes down to it, am I willing to give up my comforts? You will be in my prayers as you pray for God's will to be done.

God Bless,


9:59 PM  

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