Ever since college (and before for Luke), I knew that I was called to live a radical life for Jesus. I knew (in my head) that it wouldn't necessarily be easy, that it might be hard even, but I didn't really care. I had a calling on my life and how could I ignore it?
Well, Luke and I got married and started living a pretty normal life by your typical American standards. I taught third grade and after Luke graduated he started teaching as well. We bought a fixer-upper house. Settled in nicely after lots of work and after four years of teaching we decided to have kids. I taught my last year pregnant with my first son and when that school year was over ('07), I became your typical stay at home mom. I loved my job and struggled with not working for awhile but I knew I had made the right decision for us as I just could not imagine anyone else raising my child but me.
At this point, I have to back up and say that in the summer of '05 Luke and I led a short-term missions trip to Siberia. I had been on numerous short-term trips to Siberia before (even studied abroad there for 6 months before graduating college) but this was Luke's first time. He fell in love with it as I had years earlier. That summer we were invited to join a long-term team who would be doing mission work in a more western city in Siberia. We had lots of college debt (somewhere around $30,000) but we prayed and felt like we were to say yes. Now, this didn't get us out the door or anything as the team wasn't even going to start for a couple more years but it did get us on the "let's get ride of this debt fast" train.
The team we led!
Soooo, for the next two years we simply tried to pay off as much debt as we could, attended a missions training school and had another child. In February of '09 we were encouraged to go through our organizations staff training program even though we still had around $22,000 of debt left. The thought was, God had led us this far into serving him overseas, let's see what he does with this debt. So, that Spring we officially became staff members as overseas missionaries, headed for Siberia, somehow!
Continue to Part 2.
Not wanting to write a book, I'm breaking this up into parts!