Where Are You From?

Finding home in God.

“All right, I’d like everyone to share their name, their major, and where they’re from,” my professor said with a smile. It was a new semester at college, and I was sitting in one of my Bible classes when the inevitable “where are you from” question popped up, instantly filling me with dread.

I never know how to respond. No matter how many times it’s asked of me, it doesn’t get easier to react. Do I say I’m from Indonesia, where I’ve spent most of my life? Or Georgia, where my parents are originally from and where we stayed on furloughs? Or Idaho, where my family moved to a year ago? Or Chicago, where I currently live and go to school? I usually pick a response based on how enthusiastic I feel in the moment about sharing my story. For this particular class, I settled with the straightforward, “my family lives in Idaho.”

The dilemma I face, though it seems trivial, is a common quandary missionary kids grapple with. There’s usually at least two countries we could call home, and often we feel that we don’t completely belong in one or the other.  We drift between worlds — the world of our parents’ homeland, and the world where we grew up, which commonly involves multiple countries/cities/houses.

I feel like a nomad on this planet, and I’m not sure I’ll ever be entirely at home in one place, whatever home is. Still, I would never trade my upbringing in Indonesia, with all the extraordinary people and experiences that made my life more full and bright, for a childhood that was more “stable.”  Feeling not at home in any one place has pushed me closer to God, as I’ve realized that ultimately, I must find my true home in Him. This Earth is not our final destination; we are not meant to get too comfortable in it. As unpredictable as life is now, one thing is certain: we will someday reunite with God and have a home with Him for all eternity.

Living in Indonesia — a country grappling with pervasive poverty, natural disasters, and injustice —  has shown me that the world is not as it should be. That’s why organizations like MAF exist, as we strive to live out the love of God and set things right, even as we acknowledge the deep brokenness that only our Lord can mend. We must remember that we were made for a world beyond this one, and our truest home and security exists in God Himself.

From the soaring skyscrapers and steely winter skies of Chicago, to the humid jungles of mountainous Indonesia, I’m learning to seek home, my anchor in God.  As C.S. Lewis said, “I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death…. I must make it the main object of life to press on to that country and to help others do the same.”

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