Monday, October 19, 2015

When One Person's Sacrifice is Another Person's Suffering

"Do you hate me for recruiting your parents?" I laughed a little at this preposterous question posed by a friend at a potluck on Saturday night, but then quickly reassured her that I didn't, because even though it was a preposterous question, it was at the same time plausible. You see, I didn't know her at the time, but this friend recruited my parents to move to Mongolia for a couple years while I was in college. 

The first time that Loverboy and I walked into our Sunday School class as brand-spankin-new-lyweds, I was approached with a warm smile by this woman who quickly asked if I was Pam Block's daughter. Guilty! (This has happened multiple times—my mom or I will be out and about and some stranger (who knows the other one of us) asks if we are related. Spittin' image right here!)

So after fessing up to being Pam's daughter, we made the connection that she had recruited my parents to move to Mongolia a few years back and we laughed at how small the world really is. Since then we've maybe mentioned this connection a time or two and I've caught her up a bit on my family's life, but it wasn't until this past Saturday that I really got the chance to process with her. 

As I reassured her that, no, I did not hate her, I also shared how that was a really hard part of my life and I really missed my parents while they were gone. I shared how there was a season of tears and deep sorrow as I prepared for them to move to the other side of the world. But I also got to share of God's faithfulness during those years and how I learned to depend on Him throughout the experience. I shared how those years are now a big part of my testimony of seeing God work through tough circumstances. 

It was a sweet time of sharing and hearing about her heart as she recruited my parents (and subsequently little brother who was in high school at the time). It was sweet to hear how she worried about us. She talked about how often, one person's sacrifice is another person's suffering. When my parents chose to move to Mongolia, they were sacrificing much to do so, but it also led to the suffering of the family they left behind. 

And at the time, that suffering was hard and bitter. But looking back, I know that Jesus has taken that bitterness and turned it sweet. He has taken the short suffering and turned it into eternal joy for those that were able to hear the Good News while my parents were there. He has taken the suffering of one small family, and multiplied it into gladness for a much larger family—HIS family. 

So do I hate her for recruiting my parents? Of course not! Yes, at the time it was hard. Yes, at the time I wanted them to stay. Yes, at the time I couldn't see why they would leave. But after years of seeing God's work not only in my life and the lives of my family, but in the lives of Mongolians that otherwise might not have heard about Jesus, I can confidently say that the suffering was worth it. And I know that one day in heaven I will meet Mongolians who will take one look at me and ask—"Are you Pam Block's daughter?" 


  1. Sweet post! I agree with Jenny - Beautiful Kingdom truth.

  2. That will be a happy day when you get to meet those Mongolian friends. That's a really cool thought. Brought tears to my eyes (and trying to keep them from hitting the keyboard!). Thanks for sharing these thoughts. It was hard AND sweet for all of us, I think!


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