What Abraham knew
We were already missionaries in Germany when the Lord called us to move to another country three and a half years ago.
My husband asked if I wanted go with him to choose the city where we would plant a church and it sounded like a fun adventure so I said yes! A few weeks later we said goodbye to our three little kids and boarded a plane destined for Portugal.
I love planes (even more when I am a few kids light!). There is something amazing that happens to my perspective as the ground glides below me, but this time my heart began to ache.
It ached because I loved our quiet little life in Germany.
We lived in a small village where my kids could run and play. They were growing up where farmers would come by in their tractors and tell them to hop on.
My heart ached because I had already done this, twice actually, selling everything and moving to a new place for Jesus.
As I looked out the window of the plane weighing these sacrifices, Jesus reminded me what we have been called to; a life walking with Him where we are always trading in the good for the better.
With that reminder, as well as hearing that voice I love, my heart felt ready for the daunting task of choosing a city.
We landed and took in the air of the first city.
Driving through the surrounding areas I couldn’t believe the scenery – I had never seen poverty so intermixed with wealth.
I have traveled a fair bit in my life; Central Africa, Asia, Europe, South America… I had seen poverty, but not quite like this.
I think it was how it was mixed into the wealth. A ‘house’ on over grown land, made out of a tarp and some pieces of tin right next to a beautiful two-story home. It was as if Indonesia was neighbours with France.
After a full day of looking around and taking in the surroundings we found ourselves in a city called Matosinhos.
When we parked and began walking from the city centre to the beach I thought, “I could never live here.”
I hated the city feel, the chaos, the houses all stuck together and no green in sight.
Over the next four days we traveled along the whole coast line of Portugal, seeing small villages and big cities.
Thinking of my kids I realized how I had grown accustomed to my small little village life. Was I ready to trade in the good for the better?
As we continued driving, my eyes scanned across the hills, trees, ocean and cities and I felt like Abraham.
The Lord played the familiar story for me as I looked out over the changing scenery.
I could see our founding Father of Faith leaving everything he knew, walking through lands that were unfamiliar to him, trading in his good for better.
When I got to the scene of Abraham with his nephew Lot, my mind slowed down. Abraham looked different; confident, happy, full of peace.
The Lord spoke over this picture with a question. “Do you know why Abraham let Lot choose the land first?”
I was still thinking through this when His gentle voice broke in. “Abraham knew I would be with him wherever he went. It didn’t matter if Lot chose the better land, the plentiful land, the green land. Abraham knew I would be with him.”
My heart melted with peace; the ache wrapped in a salve of comfort.
It gave me new eyes to see our daunting task of choosing a city. It didn’t matter what city we ended up in, God was going to be with us and He was going to bless us because He was the one who had called us there. He was the one who called us to trade the good for the better. And what makes it ‘better’ is the promise that He would be with us.
So, our family ended up in the city that I said I could never live in (of course). We’ve been in Matosinhos for two years now and the Church has been growing deep and wide.
We call ourselves ‘Surf Church’ because we do what we love, for the One we love.
We meet at the beach at 2:00 p.m. and surf with about 30 people. Afterwards we all head to our house for community and dinner. We eat with around 50 people and come together for worship and study with around 70 people in our living room. Bibles open, hearts engaged and hope pressing us forward.
A few months ago my husband and I were driving and talking about the ‘hard stuff’ when he asked me if I would do it again (moving here).
I said yes immediately.
Because of Claudia, a girl who was Buddhist before she came to Surf Church. Filipe, an atheist who now professes Jesus as his Saviour. Isabel, who was baptized along with five others the week before. This was the list that made me say “Yes, I would do it again.”
I realized the ‘better’ that I traded the good things for were souls. Souls I will walk streets of gold with, talking with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords for all of time.
God is so good and faithful to His promises. That is the secret Abraham knew. That was why he let Lot choose first.