In March 2011, the Mr. and JC17 (he was JC13 at the time) had the opportunity to participate in a mission trip to an orphanage in Ecuador with our church. When they returned, the Mr. was convinced we should pack up and move to live and serve there. I thought he was crazy!
The Lord changed my heart in time, and we did say ‘Yes’ to the mission field. We committed two years of service to Casa de Fe in Shell, Ecuador. We made that decision public in October 2011, and even though we had to raise our own support, we were able to move in May 2012.
In retrospect, I realize there were three key factors of our lifestyle that made saying ‘Yes’ possible. These are definitely not requirements for participating in mission work, but these things made it easier for our family to say ‘Yes’.
1. We homeschool. Again, this is definitely not a requirement for mission work. But in deciding whether or not to go, we didn’t have to consider what we would do for the kids’ school. We had always homeschooled, and so we didn’t worry about their academics.
2. We were/are debt-free. The Mr. and I stumbled upon Dave Ramsey on talk radio many, many years ago. We followed his advice loosely until about 2008 when we were both convicted by Proverbs 22:7, “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.” We got serious about getting out of debt, and except for a small mortgage on a rental property, we were debt-free when we started making plans to move our family to South America.
3. We were already serving where we were. This is probably the most important factor for two reasons. First, we were accustomed to a lifestyle of service and so were our children. In many ways, we continued to do what we’d always done but in a new location.
Secondly, Luke 16:10a says, ” “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much,”
I hope this doesn’t sound preachy or “holier than thou”. We’re not any better than anyone else. Many people have asked through the years how we were able to “up and leave” everything in the US to serve in Ecuador. These are the three key components that I believe made it possible for us to go.