Tomorrow night I get on a plane with these four (Jason and Bethany will follow on the 11th). I will be taking them to a country they haven't seen in four years and for the most part, know nothing of. So many emotions, so many prayers, so much yearning to know God more fully.
If I had to try to choose the most important lesson I have learned in the last four years in Indonesia, I think it would be this:
God cares much more about who we are than where we are.
Our ministry isn't a state of residence, it is a state of the heart. It has taken me a long time to learn that. I have spent so much of my life looking for a place that was "perfect" for me and a ministry that would "make a great fit." But really, it's all just geography. If our hearts are turned towards the Lord and not towards the approval of man, God can do mighty things in us and through us no matter where we live. If our hearts are more concerned with what those around us think of us than what the Lord thinks, it doesn't matter where we are—we are useless due to the idolatry in our hearts.
So as we transition to the States for a time, I realize that as big of a deal as it is in some ways, it isn't a big deal in any of the things that matter. We'll enjoy the food. We'll soak in the time with friends and family. We'll gawk at the cereal aisle. We'll enjoy driving on roads where the rules matter, drinking water straight from the tap, and not having to translate everything in our heads before we speak. But, it's just geography. God is still God. We are still us. Our hearts are still what matters.