Scott Hayes, a friend and pastor of ours, once used an analogy that has stuck with me and was influential in our decision to become missionaries and pursue Budapest. It went something like this:
There is a man standing on the outskirts of a city. The city, though far off, is familiar and identifiable to the man. The issue the man faces, though, is that the city only exists in his mind; it is not yet a physical structure and he does not yet have the means in place to get to that city. So this visionary man is in need of railroad tracks, a train and the means to get to and build the city he is envisioning.
Abstract as this is, it revealed to us the necessity of finding our city. All the rest would be provided--a way to get there, the materials to build, the people to help us--but we had to find a city and trust God wholly.
Even before we were married, Sarah and I knew that missions were the next leg of our journey together. I remember so many conversations talking and praying about our options. There were so many places we felt called--Greece, Tanzania, Hungary--that we really didn't know what to do.
Then I remembered that metaphor.
And so a few months before our wedding, we were walking together near my families house. It was a long walk and it was there that I shared my feelings with Sarah. She connected with this metaphor and call to choose deeply, so we started looking for clues. Breadcrumbs left along the way for us.
We recalled our time spent in Greece and Hungary previously. Every grueling day, all the exhaustion, every time we got to engage with the kids and play, and the many days and nights of spiritual awakening.
As our walk came to end, we knew God was calling us to the area. We knew that we needed to go back, to grow, to bloom, but we didn't know that it would only be the start...