Perspective is a heaven-sent gift for those of us muddling through life trying to find meaning. Moreover, discovering perspective often requires leaving the familiar and venturing out into the unknown.
One desire I had for my children was that they would experience international travel. Leaving one’s country helps to clarify values and pursuits.
We see our lives from a new angle. I wanted my children to observe firsthand others less fortunate than themselves.
I knew from previous experience how life-changing this can be. I did not want the lulling of America’s abundance to erase a passion for the poor. I wanted my children to live outside of their culture so they could gain perspective about their culture.
I went overseas for the first time when I was only twenty-years old. I joined YWAM, Youth with a Mission. YWAM is an international nondenominational Christian missionary organization.
At the time, I was reading a book by author Corrie Ten Boom about the devastation her family suffered due to hiding Jewish refugees in the Netherlands during World War II. Her and her sister, Betsy, spent time in a concentration camp where Betsy died.
I actually had the privilege of sitting on a bench in the city of Amsterdam and listening to an elderly women who was a World War II survivor. She told of the German soldiers coming into the city:
“They drove their trucks right there and forced our husbands and sons to get in,” she tearfully recounted.
Experiences such as this gave me a new perspective about the freedom I took for granted. I will never view Amsterdam or my own country the same way again.
My heart now warms with the knowledge that both of my children have a heart for the world. Elya’s travels through Europe and Asia have imprinted the passion to make her life count for more than just selfish ambitions.
Recently, my son, Josiah, told me he “wants to live a purpose driven life.” I fought back the tears during his proclamation. This has always been my mother’s desire for him. Now that I am stateside, my heart continues to extend internationally whenever my children go overseas.
Although I highly value overseas experiences, I believe we can cross cultural and comfort boundaries right where we live. A recent opportunity came my way that will draw me outside of my comfort zone once again…but that is for the next post!