Part of the Missionary calling is leaving the safe and familiar and embarking upon the unknown and uncomfortable to obey the words of Messiah: “Go into all the world and make disciples”. In our times of instant-communication and creature comforts it doesn’t always seem to make sense to leave the modern and lucrative for the third-world or the inconvenient. This last year has had plenty of both for my wife and I. We reveled in some wonderful times that stretched from everything enveloping our wedding, honeymoon, newly-wed tour, and send-off to Spain parties in the developed world.
Since then things have slowed down, indeed, we’ve faced tough times. Our tough times aren’t too similar to those facing the U.S. and Spain. We’ve been employed by Tentmakers so our problem wasn’t employment. The difficulty for us has been all the uncertainty thrown at us by the Spanish Government. Since they sent me a letter at New Years telling me that I had 15 days to leave the country Sara and I have had to pay all the bills you would pay in the U.S., but we also had to pay those bills for our house and vehicles in Spain too. So we’ve had to decide to try to serve in the mean-time in Mexico and save money or to try to live with double the bills by living in the US and paying bills in Spain. Our visas were revoked by a mistake made a Foreign Ministry bureaucrat. This denied visa has sentenced us to something like prison: limbo.
We have now lived almost all our marriage in transit from Baja California, Mexico, to Puebla del Rio, Spain, to Redlands and Banning, USA. So the hardship hasn’t been that Spain is a third-world country, it has been that our “exile” has thrown a very big monkey wrench in the machinery of our life. So for us, the danger is not malaria or civil war. Our danger is not being in our country of service long enough to make a kind of difference that we could have made with uninterrupted service. In this I believe that my sister, Lisa Leatherwood, was very blessed in her missionary career in Spain. She had almost uninterrupted service for her 13 year career in Navarra. She did well, she fought hard, she kept the faith, she changed her town. Perhaps our big test from the Most-High is to see how long we can stick in the game without having a stable place to live? It has certainly been a time of testing for us since we said goodbye to our bed and our house on November 3rd. Most people wouldn’t like this situation, even if their limbo time was spent in a familiar or developed country. We were part of the time in Third-world Baja California, and part of the time in California. But none of the time were we in our own house or driving our own car. It has taken a toll and we are all tired and ready to be home. Now that we’ve stuck in the game this long in limbo, I’m excited to get back in the game as soon as we arrive in Spain. I still don’t know if the government will return my visa or not, but either way I’m going in faith, and I’m bringing my family with me. At the very least we’re going to get in three months in our own bed.