Preparing to go back to Indonesia from furlough always proves a hectic time. There are goodbyes to be said, details to be finished and last minute supplies to be bought. This furlough I had a hard time finding shoes to my liking. I love flip flops, but they have to have thick, supportive soles because I wear them on tile floors all day long. I searched every store and website I could think of to find a suitable replacement for my old ones. I finally found one style that I thought might work, but they were dressier than my old pair and had some sparkle to them. A row of diamond-like jewels crowned each strap.
The Sunday before returning to Indonesia we attended a large church with my husband’s sister. Throughout the entire service I was constantly reminded that it’s all about Christ. I needed to hear that. Furlough is a great break from the field, but it can also be so busy that it sometimes takes my focus away from Christ. I was re-energized with the fact that Christ is my sufficiency. It wasn’t all about having perfect supplies to take back, like my diamond-studded flip flops that I had worn to church that morning!
As I picked up my son from the Sunday school class, a man squeezed by me and inadvertently stepped on my foot. As I examined my throbbing toe, I realized that he had knocked one of the diamonds off my flip flop. My heart sank as the only pair of nice flip flops I had found were already tarnished before I even got to take them back to Indonesia! I was really looking forward to having a perfect pair of shoes— just for a little while!
But as we walked out to the car I realized that God had a purpose in me losing my diamond. Now I had a visual reminder of the message I had heard that day. It wasn’t about my own sufficiency or perfection, but all about Christ. My perfect pair of shoes weren’t perfect anymore. I decided that every time I wear those shoes in Indonesia I would remember it’s not about me doing things perfectly, but about Christ’s power working perfectly through my weakness and insufficiency.
MAF missionaries return to their home country for furlough, which lasts between three and six months, typically. This is a time to rest and regroup as well as visit with churches, ministry partners, headquarters, and family.