When my husband, David, began talking about moving to Taiwan in order to more effectively direct the work in HIM Asia’s region, it was a real struggle for me. I did not quickly admit this because I did not think it was a very spiritual attitude to have. When I thought about it (and I mostly just tried not to think about it), I usually breathed a prayer along the lines of “But, Lord, it’s not my call.” I remember during a missionary convention in Georgia as I was singing the closing song, “Give Me a Vision,” I could not stop the tears because I felt such conviction concerning my reluctance and lack of personal vision for Asia.
You see, I was living in my own home for the first time in thirty years of ministry. Our car was paid for; I had just finished my doctorate in education; everything in my house was my style, and it all matched for the first time in my life. I loved my job at Hobe Sound Bible College training teachers for Christian schools. I liked living one street over from my mother and down the road from my daughter. In some ways, I was tired and ready to slow down.
David took me away for a weekend and told me about his vision for Asia. I cried. I am sorry to admit that, but I did. I immediately groaned in my spirit and said to myself, “I do not know if my nerves can take going back on pledged support and faith-based living.”
God was so patient with me. He helped me do the right thing without the feeling I needed. He helped me unravel my United States life and ministry. He gave me the strength to smile through all the packing, selling, and traveling. And somewhere along the way—I don’t know when it happened—I was listening to David’s presentation of “A Vision for Asia” once again, and I felt it—a burden, a call, if you will. At that moment, it dawned on me that God was helping my heart to follow my head. I remembered the words of my wise mother—words echoing from my childhood—“If you do the right thing with your head long enough, your heart will follow.”
I have a feeling I am not the only one who has faced this struggle. For those who may be facing a call by proxy (a pastor’s wife moving to a new church, for example), here is my advice:
There truly is value in just doing what is right. I have often said, “I go where my husband goes.” My firm belief that I am David’s helpmate kept me grounded through that transition. I also reminded myself that life is not about ME. But I am thankful I did not have to continue living by grit alone. God poured and still pours out His grace on me.
Since moving to Taiwan, God has continued to bring clarity to my own personal “call.” I have had some moments that have been extremely incredible, and I can see why God has me here. While at a school recently, I was asked to begin teacher training there. Within days two more of these training opportunities occurred. I have been able to offer the first teacher training ever in the history of some of the secret Christian schools in China. As I explained the difference between general and Christian education to those teachers and answered their questions, I understood that God had moved me to where He wanted me.
In addition to homemaking and helping my husband with his ministry, I teach part-time in local schools in Taiwan, teach American university students online, travel for teacher training, assist our HIM Asia missionaries, and both teach and host within the HIM Education and Evangelism Center. When needed I minister in the churches with piano music, special singing, Sunday school teaching, or junior church. Teaching English camps this summer will be my seventh set of camps to be involved with in Taiwan for the evangelism of children. Daily, I am understanding more clearly that God will use me here if I do not put Him in a box and will just let Him lead me. I rejoice that God has made David’s call more specifically my calling too!
~Christina Black, HIM Missionary in Taiwan