Every once in a while, God allows us to glimpse how He has used us in peoples’ lives. This is one of those times for me and I will always treasure it. I have had precious conversations with spiritual children here – fruit from my team’s ministry that has remained for 20 years and has borne more fruit and continues to bear fruit. Many of these dear ones whose lives God allowed me to touch are spiritual nieces and nephews, led to Christ by brothers and sisters on my teams, but whose lives I also impacted. More generations are also present: grandchildren, great nieces and nephews, great-grandchildren. I feel encouraged, honored, grateful, and humbled by their words to me:
“Thank you for the things you taught me.”
“You will always have a place in my heart.”
“I will forever remember your smile.”
“Thank you for coming to Romania and for staying so many years.”
“We love your tender heart for Romania.”
“You will always be one of us.”
Some have thanked me for my sacrifice in coming to them. But it doesn’t feel like I gave up anything – at least not in hindsight. A missionary’s love for the people to whom God has called them is like a parent’s love for their child. It is not something sought after; it is God-given. It can’t be explained; it defies logic. A child’s actions can not change a parent’s love. The other Americans at this conference have expressed the same feelings as me of being overwhelmed with emotion. As I look at the room full of Romanian staff, I’m not sure they fully comprehend how deep our love is for them. No, it was a pleasure, not a sacrifice.