When did this place become home?

If I am completely honest, I think I spent our first two years in Central Asia longing to go home to our home country (or even to the USA where we had lived for a short while). I would pray: Your will God but deep down I was hoping that His will was that we wouldn’t be here long.

Now that we have lived here for a while, something has changed. I’m not sure what it is. I still have days of high culture stress and I still get frustrated with my poor mastery of the language, but something inside of me has shifted.

My husband visited our landlords who live two doors from us, to pay rent and the conversation they had went something like this:

Landlord: How long have you been living in our house now?

My husband: More than five years.

Landlord: Really? I thought it was only three and a half years! We’ve learnt how to trust each other.

My husband: We so appreciate that we’ve been able to stay so long. Friends of ours have had to move three times in the time we’ve lived in your house because each time their landlords needed the home for themselves or relatives to live in.

Landlords: Yes, that won’t happen with us (they live with their daughter)Although when our grandson gets married, he will need a house (their grandson is ten years old now!). But actually, when he gets married then he and his wife can just move in with your family and his wife will be your kelen  (daughter-in-law who does all the housework and cooking in this culture)!

My husband and I laughed when he told me about this exchange, but there really is a sweetness in all of it. Our landlords are content with us living in their house and they can see us being here for a lot longer. For our family this house is our home. When did that happen? When did this house filled with furniture I didn’t choose (and never would!) – this house painted with whitewash and sparkling, beaded Central Asian style curtains hanging in the windows – start feeling like home?

I was watching my son play in his under 12 basketball game and one boy completely missed a pass. A friend sitting next to me said: “These boys have many years playing together to get this right. By the time they’re in high school they would have been playing basketball with each other for so long that they won’t miss a pass like that.” And in that moment the longing for my son to be able to continue playing basketball for this school was so strong that it felt like an ache and I found myself silently praying: “Lord, please can we stay till our kids finish school here?”

When did this place become home? When did it happen that instead of longing to leave, I have a longing NOT to leave?

We often quote from Jeremiah 29:11: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘Plans to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (NIV). This life in Central Asia is very different from the plans I had hoped for, but despite this, my family is not being harmed and God is using it to prosper us. This is so different from what I ever imagined home to be, but it is good because it’s what God has given us; we are part of God’s story.

Once again, I find myself kneeling before God and praying: “Your will God, however long you want us to serve here.” But now, deep down I’m hoping that it will be His will that we stay for many more years. I know that being here is temporary, we are still strangers in a foreign land reliant on visas and the kindness of a foreign government and reliant on the support we receive each month. But ultimately, we’re fully reliant on God, He brought us here and He will keep us here until He calls us elsewhere.

Where has God called you to live? Does it feel like home? What factors help a place feel like home for you? How is God prospering you in ways that are different from what you had hoped and planned?

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

Leave a Reply

You might also like:

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
Teachers Central Asia    Go & Live    As soon as possibleTake that teaching diploma and invest in the lives of ‘missionary kids’ along the Silk Road.  Whether you’re a recent graduate or come with a lifetime of experience, whatever discipline you teach, MKs aged 5-18 are waiting for you!  You’ll play a vital role in the growth of the church as you release parents for ministry. We’re looking for teachers who are learners too, as you step out of your comfort zone and experience life in a unique culture.
Full Details
School teachers Central Asia    Go & Live    As soon as possibleOur missionary kid (MK) school in the heart of Central Asia needs teachers for grades K-9. We're looking for teachers committed to the nurture and growth of our children--caring professionals who both know their subject area and live out their faith. Come and make a difference in the lives of our students!
Full Details
Anti-trafficking Intervention and Awareness Officers Central Asia    Go & Live    As soon as possibleIf you have a heart for women under sexual exploitation this is a fun and varied opportunity to get involved in the fight against human trafficking in Central Asia. You could be working to support and meet the immediate needs of those under exploitation or to spread awareness of human trafficking and God's heart to end it.
Full Details
PA to Area Leader for WACSA Central Asia    Go & Live    As soon as possibleWe are looking for a personal assistant to WASCA Area leader
Full Details
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 opportunity 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! After being introduced to the culture and learning a local language you can set up a business in your area of expertise.

The type of business could be in agriculture, consulting, import & export, small manufacture, cafe and many other opportunities.... what business are YOU in?

Full Details
Engineer / Technical Consultant Central Asia    Go & Live    As soon as possibleDo you have a heart for energy, engineering, business, or IT? Do you want to use these skills to reach people and have eternal impact on Central Asians? We are looking for technical professionals who want to use their heads and hands to serve the people, mostly men. Get involved, be part of our international team and make a difference in the lives of the people in our area!
Full Details
Chinese Teacher Central Asia    Go & Live    As soon as possibleDo you have a heart for teaching Chinese? Do you want to use this skill to reach people and have eternal impact on Central Asians? We are looking for Chinese 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
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
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
Student Outreach Central Asia    Go & Live    As soon as possibleStudy Russian or one of the Turkic languages at a university in Central Asia. Living and learning alongside local students, you’ll make new friends, practice your language, and experience a new culture. At the same time, you'll be investing in the lives of those around you, sensitively sharing your faith. Come and impact the next generation in this strategic corner of the world.
Full Details