After meeting this amazing couple in Campo de Criptana and baptizing the wife, we drove back home. We passed through Andorra, and on the last 1000 kilometers we realized how unfit our camper and our clothing were for cold weather. Crossing the mountains in November heading to northern Europe turned out to be cold, specially at nights. But we made it, all happy and healthy… and shivering.
We arrived full of stories and testimonies, and we were so happy to see the faces of family and friends, and to share the anecdotes of this big adventure: what we did as a family, what we did as disciples, what God did through us, in us, our successes and failures. All in all, awesome. But something that impacted me, to my surprise, was walking back into our apartment, and I’d like to share with you why.
First some background information. In May 2015, amidst a lot of other stories and testimonies, we migrated from Germany into the Netherlands under God’s direction. Many crazy things happened, among which being led to the city and house we needed to rent. Both the owner and us knew it was from God, so we had a verbal agreement almost inmediately. It was an amazing house, the biggest I’ve ever had, and probably the biggest I will ever have. Even though it was way beyond our budget, the owner knew that God was going to provide to pay the rent, which He faithfully did for an entire year.
Nevertheless, after that year we had to leave the house unexpectedly. God provided a place for us in less than a week -which was almost impossible in this area of the Netherlands- but it was a building that had not being renewed in a long time and with many structural issues. I was happy to find something, but in my heart I was frustrated and grumpy, specially when basic things would break down. So that is how I was feeling when we left into our camper journey.
So when I got back to our “old” appartment after our camper adventure and I saw the amount of stuff and space we had, I couldn’t help feeling overwhelmed with so much gladness and joy. I went upstairs and downstairs a couple of times, and my heart was pounding, I felt as if I had won the lottery! The sofas, a shower, warm water, washing machine, and many other things I was complaining about before the trip, became suddenly so precious to me… and I felt God said to my heart: “So what were you complaining so much about?”. After spending two months with five kids in 12 square meters, and after having visited many families that lived so much tighter than us, it all seemed so luxurious. So I repented of my childish attitude towards God and thanked him for all he has given us.
But it didn’t end there. This realization brought something into my heart that I had not felt before: the desire to get rid of stuff. After a couple of days back into “normal life”, I noticed how much time is spent in doing house chores, fixing things, going to appointments, cleaning after yourself, running errands, and checking the internet. All kind of activities that while traveling did not exist in our daily life, or that took a tenth of the time they take now. We had a lot of time to be family, we were less stressed, and could focus on the mission field.
So this was the first lesson I learned as soon as we got back. Our blessings can easily become idols, and there is so much freedom in having less and living simple. Sometimes God can bless us with material things, but with the time the stuff we own begins to own us. Then we need God to set us free from those “blessings” and to teach us what being a disciple is actually about.
Being a disciple of Jesus is being who He would be if He was on earth right now. It takes time to get there, of course, but once you start and you see fruits of your labor in His Kingdom, it absorbes your heart and soul. The faces, the stories, the impact made on normal people who will be now changed forever. It is not until we go through these small lessons of life that we begin to understand what Jesus meant with the parables of the pearl of great price or the hidden treasure. Nothing in this life is really worth missing what God can do for so many hungry souls.