As I poked at my salad, I asked questions like: How did you and your wife meet? How did you each come to the decision to spend your lives together in Asia?
And he told me this story:
My wife went to college to become a nurse. But 45 years ago, it was assumed, culturally, that a wife would follow her husband wherever he went. She never argued with me on this. She simply gave up her own dreams and followed me to Asia, where I felt called to serve.This elderly missionary took off his glasses and wiped his eyes as he spoke of his wife’s compassion and sacrifice.
Then one day she came home and told me that, while she was riding the bus with our small infant, a man from the local region walked up to her and spat in her face.
When she relayed this account to me, I thought for sure that she was going to tell me that she had had enough of this place, that she wanted a nice nursing job back home, and that she wanted to get on the first plane back to America.
Instead, she told me, “We have to stay here. These people need Jesus.”
I’ve been thinking about their story all week. I’ve also been trying to picture my husband and myself as older folks. When I am 70 years old, I know that I will have plenty of stories to tell of my husband’s faithfulness to serve others even when they did not respond with kindness.
What stories will he tell of me?
I want to live my life in such a way that when I am wrinkled and gray, I will be filled with the same tenderness that I saw in this missionary, the same tenderness that comes from decades of service and sacrifice.
To God be all the glory.