Monday, September 2, 2013

Unlikely Mission Field

Yesterday was monumental. I didn't even realize it until about half way through the day. I went out to lunch after church with some new friends and we were sitting outside of a little restaurant talking natural health and essential oils when some one mentioned it was official September. Wow. September 1. Monumental. That marked to the date 6 months since I moved from Grand Rapids to California and one year to the day that I moved home from Costa Rica. Coincidence? I think not, yet this is not at ALL where I expected to be a year ago. In looking back through my prayer journal, my notes from my time in the "cave" in Michigan, and my blog, I honestly never thought I would actually be living just outside of LA.

Jessie and I one year ago to the day, Sept. 1, 2012. The passing of the torch.

Six months ago to the day, landing in California

When I moved back stateside, it was out of obedience to what I felt God was telling me. Rodney and Cindy had asked me to consider staying a third year, and I would have been happy to do so. But I had absolutely no peace about it. I knew in my heart it was time to move home, but to what I had no idea. So I made the faith step and moved back to Michigan. As most of you know, it was a difficult transition, but God gave me so much grace and favor in that season. I went through severe reverse culture shock. I am so thankful for the friends that surrounded me and helped me through. (Thanks, Tany for putting me to work cleaning bathrooms, Lynelle for the frequent coffee dates, and Sue Golder for the family dinners!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You all have no idea how essential those moments were!!!).

During my processing time, I wrote out a list of the 4 directions I was open to trying. Number one was obviously staying in Grand Rapids, finding a job, and settling back into the life I had been living pre-Rica. This was the option I really, really, really wanted. Number two was moving to an adjoining mid-western state where I had a network of friends or family, finding a job, and settling back into life as I knew it. Number three was literally selling everything I owned and moving back on the mission field to Costa Rica. All in. No looking back. For life. I told God if He didn't give me work by Christmas that was the option I was going with by default. Number four, which was actually just an addendum tacked on the bottom to fill out the rest of the paper literally said, "Move to LA with Sarah to do ministry and go all crazy." Seriously? I still can't believe I actually wrote that, but it's there in black and white. Must have been the altitude change. Note to self, in the future when writing things out to put before the Lord, include even crazier things like, "Have rich benefactor offer to buy me a mansion to house orphans", "Allow a dealership to lend me a new sports car every month to advertise their company", and "Win the lotto, spend the money on world missions trips." Seriously. I need to start dreaming bigger with God. Still,the point was in the core of my being, I was ready to go where ever God sent me.

So I guess we all know which option was God's option. I wondered what the purpose was for me moving out here. LA is so different from Grand Rapids. Most people sojourn here hoping to realize a dream. They are desperate to make it in "The Industry". Acting, fashion, modeling, film making.  They struggle and starve to make it, to find the right connections, and break into the false reality where fame and fortune are the goals of life. And most leave shattered in less than a year after their funds run out. I am a pediatric speech therapist. I work at a child development center and spend most of my waking work hours hanging out in the ball pit with two-year-olds. What the heck am I doing here?

When I moved out here, I felt like God was bringing me into a Jeremiah 29 season. Not just verse 11, though. We get too caught up in just that verse. Have you ever read verses 1-10?  Basically God's people were taken from the promised land and exiled to Babylon, the most pagan nation, like, ever. And God told them to stay there, to build houses, set up shop, have parties, eat food, get married and have babies. To pray for the land they were inhabiting, because if it prospered, they would prosper. Because God knew the plans He had for his people. To prosper them, to give them a hope and a future. And if they prayed to God, he would hear them and listen and answer them. I totally commiserate with the Israelites. Like God was taking me from my home land and planting me squat in the middle of Babylon. Did you know that's actually what they call a major section of Hollywood? Coincidence? What do you think. I feel like God wanted the Isrealites to be a model of what Godly living looked like in the middle of the pagan nation. Like missionaries sent to model and demonstrate family, community, and upright living in a foreign country with foreign practices. Did you know that Daniel (like the whole book of Daniel) was written during this season in history? Daniel was one of those exiles taken to Babylon during the Jeremiah 29 season. He was meant to be a missional model in the royal palace of not bending to cultural norms and values. He stood out, was different, was persecuted for his faith, but ultimately had divine favor on his life and is a hero of the faith for ALL ETERNITY.

So basically what I'm saying is I am still a missionary. Instead of going to the countries of the world, the Lord has brought them to me, all in one place in one of the biggest melting pots of the globe. And it is one big mission field!! There are so many people here who are hungry for the things of God. I have also become highly involved in a church out here in Glendale called Expression 58 (based off of Isaiah 58). Starting next week I am going to be helping as a revival group leader in their new school of ministry. Check out their website at to learn more about what they're about. And what I'm going to ask for is your continued prayer support. I moved back into the country, but I haven't left the mission field. I need all of your prayer cover as I continue to model community, family, and healthy living in a part of the country whose reputation precedes it. Thank you for all your support and love!!!!


  1. Wow!!I don't know you but I've been following your blog and I can sincerely tell you that many times the posts have talked to specific times in my missionary life as well. This one talked to me, and especially I'm forwarding it to a friend I have working in a school near LA who's been wondering for a while how can she be a missionary to her students!I was sent from Cambodia to Korea!

  2. Thanks for the comment, Olga! I'm glad you're enjoying the blog. I often wonder who ends up reading it :) That's incredible that you have a friend in the area where I'm now working! What a small world! LA is one of the biggest mission fields around! Why go to the nations when ALL the nations of the world come right here? It's a ripe field often neglected by the church because "nothing good comes out of Hollywood or LA", and yet how can we expect it to change if we're not living here and being the culture we want to see? Love it!! Tell your friend she can feel free to contact me any time! I love meeting new friends in the area!!!