Sometimes I have wondered why God sent me overseas for so many years, then brought me back. I spent so much time studying and adapting to different cultures, I learned a new language, I was ready to give my life to overseas missions.
Then my health problems brought my whole family back to America. As far as we can tell, back to stay.
I would be lying to say I haven't wondered why. So many people are not willing to go. We were willing, so why keep us here?
God does work in mysterious ways, and some questions will never get answers until heaven. But sometimes God lets us see glimpses of the answers here in this life.
I think my glimpse has come in the form of a book—my book on human trafficking titled Stolen Woman, newly released this summer. Writing it was like going back for a visit. And the main character's experiences—being young, idealistic and desperately wanting to do something of significance—all of that was written more from memory than imagination.
They (whoever they are) say you should write about what you know. I did. I wrote about a girl who appears competent and confident but is really insecure, and wants to make a difference to show herself and God that she is worthwhile. I wrote about arriving into a world that has too much evil, too many orphans, too many trapped women, and the painful realization that none of us can save the world, no matter how much we care.
I wrote about learning that God’s value of us is based on the extent of His love, not the extent of our abilities or achievements.
All of this I know. And I know about Asia, about the street kids in my book, about the missionaries who have their own faults and inconsistencies, about the color and life and noise that make up a foreign culture.
I'm certain that my years serving cross-culturally were not for the sole purpose of being able to write a good book; however, I see that being able to write from real experiences and thoughts and feelings creates a much more powerful story than I could have created from research.
So, it seems, those nebulous "they" people were right. Writing about what you know is more powerful. Despite not being able to go out there myself anymore, I get to verbally take readers overseas, and introduce them to missions and the needs of the world.
Who knows? Maybe someone will read my book, and God will use it to call them to overseas work. Maybe my book will result in women being rescued that I could never have reached. It's just a glimpse, but that would be a good answer to the question of why God sent me, and then brought me back. I know it's not the whole answer, but it is enough of an answer to remind me to trust Him with the rest of the question.
So I shall continue to write what I know, and let God use it however He will.