This morning I spent a little time catching up on the most consistent Saipan blogger and found a link to an older blog of someone else who was on Saipan. This girl is now back in Texas, but I was excited to read every post, hoping for some other tidbits of information about this tiny island. What did she love? What should I prepare for? And so on...the more I read, the more discouraged I became. This girl and her husband were both in the public school systems on Saipan, so not directly affiliated with the school Jason will be working at, nor did she ever really mention attending the church we'll be part of. My struggle with this blog was the underlying negativity I felt radiating from each new post. Even after their first month of teaching, she was already counting down the days until they would be back stateside. (1/8 of the way done, and so on). She also had her fair share to say about the heat and humidity on the island. Don't get me wrong, I *know* it's going to be hot, really hot, and humid, yucky humid. But the tone of her posts was never really very uplifting. I felt my eyebrows creasing as the discouragement set in. I caught myself thinking, "Man, if this girl hated it that bad and she's from TEXAS, how on earth will I survive?" That is the moment I knew I needed to shake these bad feelings!
Now, I obviously know nothing about this girl other than what she has posted. She may be super cheerful and optimistic in real life. Heck, she may LOVE sweating for all I know. I'm not trying to point a finger of shame, nor am I trying to act like I would be any better in the situation. But, I do know that after reading her whole blog (that's right, I read it all...are you really shocked?), I need to mentally prepare my mind and heart for this. I don't ever want anyone to come across my blog and think, "Gee, she must really hate it there...why did she even go?"
Above all, I will always strive to follow God's will for our lives, but I never want to do it begrudgingly. Yes, it will be hot. And yes, I may on occasion lament about the humidity and my sweat levels (gross, I know). But, I want this blog and I want MYSELF to be more about the good things God is doing through us on this tiny island. I want to sing shouts of praise as lives are changed and know that because of Him, we got to be a part of it. I want to find ways to enjoy life on a tropical island, even when the heat index is 105. I want to be excited about making new friendships and stepping out of my comfort zone, trusting in God to see my through. I want to lead by example, and teach Emilia how to always look for the GOOD in life, even when it gets really hard.
Life on Saipan will be different than anything I have ever known and that is scary. It is scary to leave everything you know and love, pack a few suitcases and head to a place you know nothing about. I worry about how my family will eat. Yes, I know that is a weird one. But, with a family as finicky about food as we are, I worry about it. Add to that the prices of anything not-local and my worries increase. When I feel my heart getting heavy with such worries, I remind myself that God will be with me, Every. Day. I may not get to eat the foods I love here in the States. But I will not go hungry. I may not have the same level of air conditioned comfort I am used to during STL summer months, but He will comfort me. I may miss my family and friends on the mainland, but God WILL bring new friends into my life. I recently heard a definition that I intend to cling to. SACRIFICE: To give up something you love, for something you love more. As hard as it will be to leave our lives in Illinois, we know this is the right step for our family. There are so many people on Saipan that need to hear about Christ and God has called us to this task. When I think about the lives He will change, including our own, I cannot help but get super excited. The triumphs through Christ will definitely outweight our trials.
Sadly, the girl, whose blog I stalked today, did not return to Saipan. From what I can gather, she and her husband did not return after their first year. I cannot help but wonder if part of the reason is because she never got past the "uncomforts" and always longed for her "home" in Texas. This has taught me that there must be a certain level of disconnect from "home". I do not want to sit around thinking about how I miss Target, Old Navy and AC. I cannot allow myself to be bowled over with misery of the things I no longer have access to. I must always keep my mind positive. There are so many wonderful things about Saipan and it would be a disservice to myself to overlook them. I have no idea how long God intends for us to stay on Saipan, but I never want the reason we leave to be because I just couldn't get over missing "home". Saipan will BE my home for as long as God wills. I want to embrace it whole-heartedly and if the day comes that we must leave Saipan, I hope to ache for leaving my new "home".