When I look back at the crossroads in my life—times when things seemed to have taken a wrong turn or my plans and goals were dealt a severe blow—I realize that my faith played a major role and helped me to weather the adverse circumstances and challenges.
Since I've worked as a missionary for over 30 years, mostly doing community and volunteer service in foreign lands, faith has naturally been a driving force in my work and private life. I learned to trust that whatever the problem, there was light at the end of the tunnel and a ray of hope.
When my second baby was born two months premature with underdeveloped lungs and a weak heartbeat, I was devastated. Doctors doubted his chances for a normal healthy life, and he was placed in an incubator for a month. The fear of losing my baby almost choked me, but as I clung to faith, he and I both made it through the long wait before his release from the hospital with the necessary weight gain and a clean bill of health.1
When after 13 years of mission service in Southeast Asia, our assignment unexpectedly ended and our family, including three small children, was faced with starting all over again in a new land, faith gave us the courage and strength to wholeheartedly plunge into the unknown.2
The loss of a child to leukemia after a two-year stretch of chemotherapy in 2003 brought me to the brink of despair. Faith accompanied me on the road of suffering and loss until I could arrive at a better place.3
Feeling powerless to help a loved one’s long struggle with drug addiction, and witnessing the resulting problems in his marriage and professional life, was heartbreaking. Faith gave me hope when all seemed hopeless and strength to believe the battle could be won.4
Over the 21 years (and counting) that I have been working on the African continent, with all its insecurity and poverty, my faith has been a shield. It’s given me courage and endurance to hang on during times when things don’t make sense or when energy and resolve wear thin.5
Again and again, faith in God has made adverse circumstances manageable, happiness tangible, disappointments bearable, loss endurable, and given me the assurance that the sun will always shine again.