The time had come to launch into the unknown. My oldest daughter loved her life in Bolivia and talked me into letting her stay for a while with her best friend. It was worrisome because of her health condition with cystic fibrosis; but I gave in because her friend’s mother promised to keep an eye on her.
What I appreciated very much was the opportunity to preach at the church on my last Sunday. I had hoped my missionary colleagues would have been with me that day but they had another program. But my friends that had worked in the publishing house with me were all present. That meant the world to me!
“My crew” at a farewell dinner
Up to the last minute I was at the publishing house finishing off jobs and giving instructions, From there I went straight to the airport.
My daughter Carina and I boarded the plane in the afternoon. We had a crowd at the airport bidding us farewell. It was bittersweet. I had lived in South America since I was two years old, first in Chile then Peru, and finally in Bolivia. I had my heart there. I loved the people. The color of my skin was different, I could not hide my Scandinavian heritage, but my heart was South American. Those were the people I felt at home with. Now I was leaving everything behind.
Sometimes I fantasize about how it was for Abraham when he took farewell of his family and friends.
“Where are you going, Abram?”
“I don’t know!”
“What! Are you crazy?! You’re leaving with everything and you don’t know where you are going!”
“I only know that God told me to go.”
I can see lots of people shaking their heads. They didn’t understand what had gotten into old faithful Abram. (God gave him the name Abraham later on.)
“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country…” (Hebrew 11:8-9).
Some people were shaking their heads at my “adventure.” I don’t think there were many people that thought we would be successful.
When God has called you to a task, when he has said “Go!”, there is no way you can turn back. Sure, you could, but that would make you miserable.
We had quite a price to pay because of this adventurous spirit. But that was in the unknown. We knew our destination was Miami, but it could just as well have been described like what the Bible says about Abraham, that he went, even though he did not know where he was going.
July 21, 1988 my life changed forever. I didn’t know it then, but I was on my way to my new homeland. (I am now an American citizen.)
What would happen to my girl that stayed behind? That was the great question. (To be continued)