Most times, that phrase sparks a certain amount of joy and relief and security for those who say it. It brings with it memories of fond times and feelings of family and the assurance that you’ll be sleeping in your own comfortable bed.
Every one of Grace’s Global Partners, however, lives in a strange sort of tension with regard to the word “Home”. Where is home? Is it here in America? Or is it the country in which they live most of their professional lives? They long for the creature comforts of the US and its familiar faces, its time-orientation, and its wide variety of consumer products. But at the same time, they’ve developed a deep love for the people they serve and the cultures they’ve embraced during years of meaningful work and ministry.
The King family (name changed) is one such Grace Global Partner family that was longing to get back to their “home” in Guatemala. The COVID-19 pandemic had brought them back to the US for an unexpectedly long furlough in 2020. They had a wonderful time visiting friends and family, but now it was time for them to make their way back to Central America. Pandemic-related travel restrictions, however, were making their return nearly impossible. Week after week they would check on the possibility of buying airline tickets, but the skies were simply closed to them.
One day, though, they heard the Guatemala airport was going to re-open. “We’re going home!” they thought joyfully. They bought the tickets for their large family and began making preparations as their departure date neared. They stuffed their suitcases full, began saying their tearful goodbyes and mentally readied themselves for their journey.
But then, unexpectedly, their flights were cancelled. There would be no return. They were devastated.
In an effort to be encouraged, they attended outdoor church at Grace the following Sunday morning. They sat in their camp chairs alongside all the other worshipers that morning. They stood for the worship and tried to sing along. Their hearts weren’t in it, though. Their sadness at the cancellation of their trip was just too much. That week, however, Pastor Bob was talking about the importance of prayer in his message. That’s when it hit them. They as a family felt the Lord convicting them that they had not really spent much time praying about their return to Guatemala. They had simply made their own plans according to their own timing and hoped for the best. God had not been a part of the process.
Mr. and Mrs. King made the immediate decision to pray and fast about their return to their beloved Guatemala. They were seeking the Lord’s direction. Was this the right time? Should they stay in America longer? What would the Lord have for them to do? They prayed every day with consistency and during their times of fasting they concentrated on being still before the Lord and listening for His voice.
And that’s when it happened.
The airport in Guatemala opened up once again.
They believed the Lord opened the airport as a sign and as guidance for them that they were to return to their overseas home. They bought their tickets, jumped through a few more official COVID-related hoops, and eventually made it back to the land that they love so much.
Prayer had become the gateway to understanding God’s will. They were so grateful that the Lord was there to listen to their prayers and that He spoke so clearly to them in their time of need.