Leaving a legacy

We planted a walnut tree in our garden in Central Asia.

As we sat in its meager shade (it’s still a small tree) my husband smiled and said: “Just think, one day our grandchildren will be able to climb this tree and enjoy a view over the whole city!” For a few moments I enjoyed the thought of a huge leafy tree with my grandchildren climbing it and then reality hit. Why did we plant a walnut tree? Our grandchildren will probably never come here for a visit to see it, never mind live in this house!

Why are we investing time and money here when it’s all temporary anyway? Who knows how long we will be allowed to continue living here? And yet God commanded the exiles living in Babylon to plant gardens and seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which He carried them into exile (Jeremiah 29:4-7).

When we first left to come to Central Asia, we packed up five suitcases to take with us and then built a shed in my parent’s garden—making sure that it was rain and insect proof—and stored the rest of our lives there in big plastic tubs. During our second home assignment we once again went through all our precious possessions which were literally being damaged by moth and rust and decided that it would be better for these things to be used rather than grow old waiting in boxes for us to need them someday. What followed were some of the most painful days of my life as we gave away the special gifts we had received at our wedding: our Canadian oak coffee table and so many other treasures that held worth because of the memories stored within them.

Getting rid of our possessions back home and planting trees and living life here has had me mulling over the question: “When we leave Central Asia, what will we leave behind?” We certainly won’t leave behind a shed filled with stuff in somebody’s garden, but what other treasures will we leave?

I love hearing from the local people here about the workers that have gone before us who have now returned to their passport countries. I hear stories like: “She taught me to quilt” or “She gave me this recipe” or “She taught me how to set a table for foreigners” and, of course, the best stories begin: “She taught me about Jesus.” These are the things those who have gone before us have left behind.

What will be left of us after we leave Central Asia? Hopefully there will be people here whose lives have been changed or at least have been affected from having known us and from knowing the One we’ve pointed them to.

And there will be a walnut tree growing in a garden on the outskirts of the city.

Beth is from the global South, and she loves the ocean and cold Christmas dinner on a hot day around the pool. She is married to an adventurer, and they have three wonderfully unique children.

Share this Resource

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Share on print

Leave a Reply

You might also like:

Physio Therapist / Occupational Therapist Central Asia    Go & Live    As soon as possibleChildren at risk… of what or from whom you may ask? Many of them are at risk of being abandoned to a cold institution away from their home, friends and family! Our main goal is to see children living in healthy families where they can reach their potential in all areas: social, physical mental and spiritual. This is done through therapy, training, and providing the needed resources.

We need Your help! Are you a physical or occupational therapist? Willing to work in rural settings?  Read on!

Full Details
Business Development Advisor (M) Central Asia    Go & Live    As soon as possibleAdvising existing projects on developing various sizes of business relating to women's empowerment and literature production. Training project staff in areas of business development, marketing and sales management. Facilitating development of a project into a sustainable business
Full Details
Sports Ministry Assistant Central Asia    Go & Live    As soon as possibleCome assist in our established sports ministry! Build on our existing program based on methods used around the world.  If you love sports and would like to use that platform to introduce people to Jesus, then this is an opportunity for you!
Full Details
Occupational Therapist/Physiotherapist Central Asia    Go & Live    As soon as possibleTo help and treat patients with physical problems caused by accident, illness, or aging and to be a light for the Kingdom of God as you do so.
Full Details
Media Marketing Advisor/Business Manager (M) Central Asia    Go & Live    As soon as possibleIf you are talented in business and have a heart for the unreached, we're looking for you! Use your experience in Media Marketing to develop strategies and networks for advertising and distributing literature and DVDs throughout the country. You’ll be overseeing project budgeting, logistics and financial reporting, and working closely with our team of national workers to get the job done. (M)
Full Details
Teacher of English (M) Central Asia    Go & Live    As soon as possiblePreparing and teaching spoken and written English to national staff who need to upgrade their English skills for their job.
Full Details
Health Worker Central Asia    Go & Live    As soon as possibleWhat is good health? Usually we think of physical symptoms, but being healthy also includes the social, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of life. We want to see people living in wholeness in each of these areas.
Full Details
Korean Teacher Central Asia    Go & Live    As soon as possibleDo you have a heart for teaching Korean? Do you want to use this skill to reach people and have eternal impact on Central Asia? We are looking for Korean teachers who are able and motivated to teach Korean to our mostly young students at various levels. Get involved, be part of our international team and make a difference in the lives of the people in our area!
Full Details
Church Planter Central Asia    Go & Live    As soon as possibleAs a member of this church planting team you will have the opportunity to join our teammates in ushering people into the family of God.  It will be your job to attend meetings, meet with seekers and new Believers one-on-one, encourage the local pastors, and to take part in expanding this already growing ministry.
Full Details
Health Care Worker Central Asia    Go & Live    As soon as possibleWhat is good health? Usually we think of physical symptoms, but being healthy also includes the social, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of life. We want to see people living in wholeness in each of these areas.

Are you the kind of health worker who wants to see people getting better on both aspects: physical and spiritual, by teaching basic health lessons? Willing to work among communities that are filled with animistic and folk Islamic health beliefs?  Then please keep on reading.

Full Details
Russian Teacher Central Asia    Go & Live    As soon as possibleDo you have a heart for teaching Russian? Do you want to use this skill to reach people and have eternal impact on Central Asians? We are looking for Russian teachers who are able and motivated to teach Russian to our mostly young students at
various levels. Get involved, be part of our international team and make a difference in the lives of the people in our area!

Full Details
English Teacher and Teacher Trainer Central Asia    Go & Live    As soon as possibleDo you have a heart for teaching English? Do you want to use this skill to have eternal impact on the lives of Central Asians? We are looking for English teachers who are able and motivated to teach our mostly young students at various levels. Get involved, be part of our international team and make a difference in the lives of the people in our area!
Full Details