I grew up moving a lot as a kid. It wasn't always bad, but it wasn't always easy either. New schools, new friends, and even a new country all by the age of six. I remember a lot of those moments and I know it makes an impact on a child when you move them from what is familiar to something different. I am thankful for my childhood and know that it shaped my life.
As we began this process, we spoke to our two older children, Eli and Eden, about the possibility of moving to another country to do missions. We started with asking, "What do you think about moving to another country?" They were both really open to the idea of moving until Eli responded with, "I only want to move to Hawaii, Australia, or Canada!" He was emphatic in his statement and when we brought up Croatia he was adamantly opposed to the thought of moving there. This continued for a while, anytime Croatia came up in conversation Eli would eloquently inform everyone, "I don't want to go!"
Amber and I didn't know what to do. We were sensing the Lord leading us to Croatia and here we have a kid who doesn't want to have anything to do with it. We began praying that if this was what God wanted us to do we needed Him to change our Eli's heart. We didn't want to drag our child somewhere and have them be bitter towards God and to us as a result.
One day everything changed. Here is an excerpt from my journal on March 11, 2013:
We were putting the kids to bed after a game of monopoly and Eli said that he had a "feeling" today and wanted to talk to Amber and I alone. At first I thought he was trying to just stay up later but we decided to pull him out of bed and talk to him. We brought him into our room and he began to share something that had happened at school today.
In social studies they were studying about Spain, Ghana, and Japan and he recognized that Spain was a neighbor of Croatia. While in class he had a "strong feeling" that we were going to go Croatia. He began to talk about a confidence in going to Croatia and that he was excited to teach the students American football (hey, whatever it takes). This is the first time he has expressed any interest in going to Croatia. He has always voiced a desire to go to Australia, Hawaii, or somewhere warm.
We began to ask him about hearing the voice in class and he said it wasn't a voice but described it as just "knowing" that we were going to go. He had a joy about the whole experience and we shared with him about hearing the voice of God and how the Holy Spirit leads us and speaks to us. We encouraged him to continue praying and trusting God.
Wow! Amber and I are in shock and truly blessed that God is working in his heart.
This conversation with Eli has replayed in my mind for the past five months. It is a testimony of God working in ways that we couldn't. He changed our son's heart. He was paving a way. He was confirming the call He had placed on our lives.
He is faithful.