When Missionaries Move Back Home {Yes, That Would Be Us}

by Laura on July 1, 2012

This is potentially one of the most difficult posts I’ve had to write in the three years I’ve been blogging.

I don’t know how to communicate in my online life the detours, false-starts, apparent-dead-ends, and surprising corners the journey in our real lives has taken– especially in the past year.

I don’t know how to honestly talk about the next step in our future without perhaps alienating many who’ve come to this space from a million different latitudes, and I have no idea how to paint an authentic picture of the bitter and the sweet our family is about to get very well-acquainted with.

So maybe sometimes just ripping off the band-aid is best:  We are moving back to the United States.

Shocker, I know. It is for me in some ways, too.

We’ve been in Asia now for about 2 and a half years, and there’s been much that has transpired behind-the-scenes of this blog. While we came to direct a Girls Home initially, we have for the past year and a half been working specifically in the counter-trafficking community. We’ve had quite the on-the-job-education as Matt has networked, served on committees, and witnessed firsthand the dark realities of the sex industry here in SE Asia. We’ve brainstormed possible solutions to a social justice issue that is by far the most complicated puzzle I’ve ever come close to, and we’ve cried under the weight of knowing that a 15-year-old several miles away was being abused behind a locked door, while we were watching Netflix in the safety of our home.

It’s been the heaviest year of our lives, no question.

And through meeting with many of the key-players in the humanitarian sector fighting sexual slavery here, we began recognizing a glaring hole in the attempts to fight it. While the three major areas of counter -trafficking work roughly fall into either prevention, intervention, or after-care, we saw that little was being effectively done here {especially by the Western community, and even more especially by the Christian community} in the intervention arena– the gathering of evidence, the actual raid of brothels and rescue of victims, and the prosecution of criminals within the laws of the local government.  And it wasn’t hard to see why–  the practical, physical, and moral dangers of the work rank fairly high.

Then, about ten months ago, my friend Kelley from Ezekiel Rain Ministries told me about a book we needed to read called God in a Brothel, written by an undercover investigator in the sex-industry. Matt and I both read it that month, and it changed things for us. We promptly wrote the author, Daniel Walker, when we found that he was launching an organization called Nvader that specifically specialized in targeted interventions, namely, using men with professional investigative training backgrounds to gather undercover evidence of trafficking for the purpose of prosecutions within the local legal system. From where we were sitting at the time, it seemed like exactly a piece of the puzzle that was getting the least attention. {Though, yes, there are a few other organizations that focus on targeted interventions, as well.}

Over the past few months, we have been in Skype conversations and face-to-face meetings with the team from Nvader, including Daniel Walker. We’ve talked about their needs, and we’ve become more and more convinced of the unique, necessary niche they fit in the fight against sex slavery today in Asia. And over the last several months,

we’ve begun to realize that the best way we can serve the cause of this mission field is to leave it.

After lots of prayer and in that peace which dwarfs everything else, Matt and I will both be taking partnering roles with Nvader. We will be relocating at the end of the summer back to the town that sent us out– Woodland Park, Colorado. We’ll be raising funds and awareness, writing blogs and Facebook posts, developing systems and vision for connecting churches and communities to counter-trafficking, and praying-like-mad that the machine selling women and children for profit becomes greatly less-profitable. Our niche will continue to be the gritty, but effective, work of gathering evidence, empowering raids, and working within local legal systems, with a specific focus on enabling national investigators. My husband will be traveling back and forth from Asia to the States on a semi-regular basis, as well. We’ve discovered that for safety concerns, this might be a better fit for our family, anyway. Initially, the positions will still be fully-supported ones.

And while we are convinced that this is our best-shot at using our giftings to rescue girls in brothels, I’d be lying to say there isn’t a deep sadness that comes with the decision. Because in many ways, it’s been thrilling to be on the front-lines. It’s been raw and dramatic and exotic. I can finally manage the language and have friends I could call if my car won’t start. I’ve learned to love scooter rides and roadside food stands and a slower pace of life. And living here has given me lots to write about, too– about missions, about the church, about faith. But, when I honestly look at what Matt and I can practically do to fight trafficking, when I look at the opportunities that have landed before us, and when I look at the hearts of my kids and our schooling options for the future, there is a certainty of the next step that has slowly become more bedrock.

And I’d be lying to say I wasn’t nervous about the transition. I’m scared we won’t have the money to get back and set up a life stateside, nervous that my kids won’t find their place, scared that these two years will have put a bigger gulf in my Community and culture than I think.

And I’m deeply sad to be closing a chapter I’ve wanted to live ever since I was a teenager.

Yet, yet. Somehow in the same breath, I can hardly wait to go back home.

To the mountains, to the language of my heart, to bread and not rice.  Mostly, though, I am excited to be re-entering a community that gave us a car, that embraced us in a season of youth trips and babies, that sent us but hasn’t left us these past few years. I’m thrilled to be a much shorter plane ride away from my family in North Carolina, and

I’m hopeful for a chance to use our experiences here to connect funding from the West to the rescue of girls in the East, as undramatic as that role will probably feel.

************

I’ll be writing much more in the coming days, about the transition from one mission field to another. I’ll continue being honest about our journey and will at some point speak more clearly about our story from the past year, as well. But, for now, I’d appreciate your prayers for our family as we push through another international move, hopefully in time for school starting in August.

If you’d like to financially donate to our moving expenses back home {namely, airline tickets that make me want to hyperventilate}, well, we’d consider that a real gift, as well. {We will continue using the same accounting agency as before. The link to give online is here. The operating project on the drop-down menu has now changed to EXODUS ROAD— our project title until Nvader gets set up officially  stateside. All funds previously donated to our education fund will go right to our moving expenses.}

I can’t thank you all enough, honestly, for walking with me virtually through this life overseas. I am so humbled and grateful for the gift of community you have given me in this space. Truly, I can’t thank you enough. If I could buy each of you one of those cool wooden carvings of an Asian elephant or some intricate tapestry from the hill tribe villages or even just a plate of authentic pad thai as a thank-you gift, well, I so would.

 

  • http://www.angiewashington.com/ @ngie

    I applaud your bravery, dear Laura. Go with God my friend.  

    • lauraparkerblog

      Oh, gosh, thanks. YOU have been such a voice of hope to me during these last two years . . .

  • Adina

    Can I just tell you that you and Matt do the BRAVE things?  For some reason, you follow the call of God on your hearts, and it ALWAYS seems to be something that totally freaks me out.  I LOVE that you’re coming home!  I love that I get to rub shoulders with you a little bit.  And the task God is laying on you is BIG.  “Be strong and courageous….Only be strong and very courageous….Be strong and courageous!  Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  (all from Joshua 1)

    • lauraparkerblog

      Adina,

      Oh, thanks. Your words are so encouraging. I sure don’t feel very brave, though. If you only knew what went on behind closed doors . . .

      So excited to see you in person– soon!

  • Diana Trautwein

    Laura, this makes SO.MUCH.SENSE. You have all been terrific missionaries, in the very best sense of that word – open, honest, loving, committed. You’re just taking all that good stuff stateside now, where you’ll be able to use your on-the-firing-line experience and knowledge in really important ways. May the Lord give you peace and confidence – and may the funds come in, just as you need them. I look forward to what God will continue to do with  you and through you in this new endeavor!

    • lauraparkerblog

      Thanks, Diana . . .

      You have been so encouraging in this space over the years. I appreciate that that won’t change. :)

  • http://twitter.com/lifefordessert Logan Wolfram

    Ahhh….friend.  You’re coming home! I love you!

    • lauraparkerblog

      Yeah! we FINALLY get to have coffee together! Soon! I’m thinking you might just need a flight out to Colorado for something in the fall . . .

  • carol

    hugs from NC
     

    • lauraparkerblog

      Maybe I’ll get to see your five babies soon!

  • Marissa

    Sounds exciting!  What a wonderful opportunity to strategically serve the oppressed.  And a difficult announcement to make, I imagine.  Take heart and, if it’s not to presumptuous of me to say it, as much as possible shrug off the impulse for disclaimers or somehow feeling less-than…trust that this is the way.  And may He grant you grace to walk in it with unsheepish joy and single-mindedness.  Hoping for a smooth transition for you and your family!

    • lauraparkerblog

      Oh, wow– this was meant for me today, because I HAVE felt this:

      “Take heart and, if it’s not to presumptuous of me to say it, as much as possible shrug off the impulse for disclaimers or somehow feeling less-than…trust that this is the way. ”

      Thanks for writing this, Marissa.

  • Eric Ford

    God bless you all!  Tough decisions!  …and a tough transitions.  Clearly, this is God’s leading.   And that is exciting and hope giving.   Simultaneously… we’re just sad to see you go.  We get back August 8th.   Do you know when you’re planning to leave?

    • lauraparkerblog

      Thanks, Eric– we HATE that we won’t be able to hang out with you guys this next year. We are actually leaving end of July. Bummer.

      Thanks for your encouragement, though, and know that if you guys are ever in Colorado . . .

      Hope your trip home has been refreshing and good for all five of you. :)

  • Honea15

    I will definitely say a prayer for you all and look forward to hearing more from you in the coming months! I know you will have a lot on your plate soon so I pray that the packing and transition will be seamless and that our Creator God will be your strength and uphold you through every aspect of the move. Love from one sister in Christ to another.

    Ashley

    • lauraparkerblog

      Thank you so much!

  • Sarahbennett89

    Dear Laura,
    I cant tell you how much I have been blessed by your posts as I’ve been these last 8 months in Mexico.  God called me to teach music and live in a girls home in Baja Mexico.  But now He’s redirecting me for the moment back home to Washington. The thing is, I’m taking my plane home.  Tomorrow.  I was bringing to my Father this hurt. The hurt of all that it means to leave a people and life you’ve grown to love without a certainty of coming back again- when your blog post came to my e-mail.  I just want  you to know that I am lifted up into an embrace of the Loving Fathers arms. He knows what it means to our hearts when we leave a place and people, and He cares So much.  He is my comfort and my hearts healer. It was such an embrace of love when as I was running to Him with my feelings, my pain, and he showed in such a clear way that he was listening, that He cares so much. I’ll be praying for you and your family!
     Love in Christ,
    Sarah

    • lauraparkerblog

      Oh, wow– God’s timing IS good isn’t it? I love that HE spoke in real ways to your heart today– and super honored that he used these words to do it.
      Praying for you too as you transition . . .

  • http://ywamratchaburi.blogspot.com/ Bronnismith

    I can’t tell you how much I have enjoyed reading your blog since I discovered it a few months ago. I have been in Thailand for 9 years now, and reading your blog as you have been discovering Thailand and your place (and your family’s place) here has been like re-living some of the many joys and struggles that I went through myself only a few years ago. I am thrilled for you that you will be moving back “home”, and sad all at the same time that you won’t be living in Thailand anymore. Most of all though, I am thankful that you will still be a part of the fight for this nation, even if it is from halfway across the world.

    Thank you Laura for giving your heart for the people of Thailand. Thank you for the sacrifices that you have made and for the part that you will continue to play:) 

    • lauraparkerblog

      Thanks so much for your words and encouragement.

      Thanks, too, for not calling me a “quitter” — :)

      And yes, these are precious people here, for sure.

      Blessings on your work here, too. Thanks for reading.

  • Brittany2e

    I know how difficult it is to make a decision like you have and my heart is with you just as it has been since the day you left. I do not live in WP any longer, but the Springs isn’t so far away and I would be very happy to take you out for coffee and do what I can to ease your transition.
    I also want you to know that, when you get back and settled, I very much would be interested in volunteering to help you with your cause if you have a place for me. Trafficking is something near and dear to my heart and if I can help by doing presentations or research or anything at all I want to. Again, we can talk about that when you are settled here.
    I would be lying if I said I am not a little happy to see you again. I have missed you over the years and look forward to hearing that beautiful Carolina accent again :) I love you Laura and I can’t wait for your new chapter.

    • lauraparkerblog

      Brittany– YES! Let’s talk . . .

      :)

  • Erin Cook

    Laura, I can’t express how I’ve loved your posts there in Thailand; your heart bled out on “paper” have resonated with me more deeply than I could say. So, thank you for being faithful in going there, in sharing your journey. And thank you for being faithful in going back to the States. It’s brave and scary and BIG. The steps ya’ll are taking to leave aren’t easy and I’m proud of you for diving into the hard, even when you don’t know how it’ll end up. 

    How exciting this next season is, though! I look forward to watching His will unfold in and through you guys. Be weak, so His strength may shine and be brave in Him. 

    Lots of love to you.

    • lauraparkerblog

      Oh, Erin, I really feel like I have a true friend in you. If you ever find yourself in Colorado . . .

  • http://www.nosuperheroes.com Chris Lautsbaugh

    Blessings on your transition. Change is never fun, but is such a part of life. The course of our lives is never a pre planned GPS route, but one of changes and detours. Knowing you are making the right choice helps illuminate the unknown factors of change. Lots of deep breaths required! 

    • lauraparkerblog

      Chris, absolutely:

      “The course of our lives is never a pre planned GPS route, but one of changes and detours”

      Thanks for your encouragement . . .

  • http://twitter.com/johnlambert John Lambert

    As you may know Laura, we are making a similar transition stateside as a family.  I’m sorry we didn’t get to have time together while we were there.  Take things one step at a time and don’t try to get too ahead of yourselves.  The thoughts of how it all will work out can be overwhelming but if you break it down and do what you can when you can, you will make it through.  God bless you and the family as you move forward. Your bravery to follow his lead is rare and commendable.

    • lauraparkerblog

      Oh, wow– I didn’t know that. I thought you were just visiting the states. Where will ya’ll be living? Funny if we met for the first time on US soil instead of Thai! Hope you guys are doing well managing the transition, too– prayers for your family from here. Thanks for your good words . . ..

  • cindy

    Your blog has been such an encouragement to me, and I’m sure it will continue to be.  God bless you in your obedience, praying that others will understand.

    • lauraparkerblog

      Wow, thanks, Cindy. Appreciate your kindness– means a lot.

  • Wendy

    I read this just as we are getting ready to board a plane with one way tickets to Nicaragua… Ironic that by the time I get there you will be back in the states LOL but of course we must go where God has directed, or risk getting eaten by a whale 😉 Thanks for your writings!!

    P.S. I recently wrote a blog post using one of your quotes 😉 wendywillard.com

    • lauraparkerblog

      WOW! What incredible timing. I can’t wait to hear/read about your adventures and serving with your family overseas! You are at an exciting point in life, Wendy– keep walking forward in hope!!

      love from here,
      Laura

  • http://www.gettingdownwithjesus.com/ dukeslee

    Praying for you now, as you transition. You’ve been brave there, and you’ll need that same God-gifted courage to bring you home. May He offer His great strength to you. 

    • lauraparkerblog

      Thanks so much. So encouraging to KNOW that you are praying as you are commenting . . . . a gift for sure.

  • Beth Clark

    Laura, 
    I know I say this ALL THE TIME, but I’m amazed at the parallel lives we live.  I just wanted you to know I’m praying for you and your family.  I just read your blog, stateside, and I completely understand your emotions, fears, excitements, bitters and sweets!  We came home for a 2 month stay and while being here, we sought the counsel of Dr’s to help us get to the bottom of our “Bangkok Baby’s” extensive health problems.  We got 2 diagnosis and because of that have decided, as a family, our 4 children and myself will not be returning to BKK when Daddy does in July.  Unlike you, we have no idea how long we’ll be stateside, we just know that for now, for our baby this is the best.  We also know the calling is the same but the execution of that will look different; kind of like you guys!  SOOOOO, I can write a mini-novel to you re: the third-culture realities we’ve been walking through since returning but I want to encourage you that this is going to be goooood.  Keep your eyes focused on the path God has paved and stay in the word!  Remind your kids that they’ll find their groove and will make a profound impact here!  In fact, just to further encourage you, within a week of returning our 9 year old daughter sold her artwork on the streets of a suburb in TN, raising awareness for the refugees living along the border.  That one cause raised $10,000 baht!  SOOOO-they will have SO much to teach others and will be able to make a huge impact!  

    Thank you for sharing your journey and I’m so excited for you guys and this next chapter.  I know God will continue to use you in a multitude of ways and though we’ve never met, I’m thankful to have stumbled upon your blog 1 1/2 years ago as we were both walking out our culture shock!  Much love to you and your family!! Beth

    • lauraparkerblog

      Beth, oh, WOW. Girl, I can not imagine this season for your family! How hard, unsettling, hard. I will really be praying for PEACE and WISDOM. You are absolutely right that your kids’ health is paramount and trumps “ministry”. Proud of you guys for making that call.

      This is soooo true: “We also know the calling is the same but the execution of that will look different”

      Prayers from here for your youngest and for you all. Thanks for your encouragement– and we really have to meet sometime! My husband was raised in TN– Bristol. Are ya’ll close to there at all? :)

  • Dianakroberts

    Laura, I know I don’t comment often, but I do read. One thing I so appreciate about you is your open, honest, REAL approach to communicating with us. After all this time helping us to see what it’s really like to be a missionary overseas, it must be difficult to make this transition. Know that we all still love you guys and are still praying for you, no matter where you happen to be located. If God can use you more effectively over here, then we SO welcome you home! (And it’s post-evacuation, so maybe you can stay here a while!)

  • Caitlink Thompson

    Laura, this goes without saying: the CO community will be SO EXCITED to have you close to us, again. I cannot even begin to fully comprehend what you’re experiencing emotionally (though I got the TINIEST taste of it when WE left Thailand) know that NOTHING that you have done has been in vain. You have had a greater impact that you’re even aware of and we are all SO proud of you. Take a deep breath. Inhale. Exhale. God is good and ABUNDANTLY faithful…and he is leading you to exactly where you need to be :) We love, love, love you!
    – Caitlin :)

  • http://www.lovewellblog.com/ Kelly @ Love Well

    I read this on my phone last night, Laura, just after you posted it, and I felt my heart beat fast.

    I can only imagine how difficult it was to write, much less how difficult it will be to live. There is such a mix of emotions that go into this – excitement, sorrow, fear, peace. 

    I love what Diana said: God will surely use your time in the field. He has a plan for your future, just as He’s had a plan for the last two years. I can’t wait to see how it unfolds.

    (And maybe just a small part of me is happy that we might finally get to hug in person now? We are so often in Colorado Springs. Meet up at Donut Mill?)

  • http://www.proclaiminghimtowomen.com/ Emily Wickham

    Dear Laura,
    God is SO amazing. I was praying this morning about the Lord’s provision of ministry booths for the Connecting with Christ Conference. Your name came immediately to mind. I’ve wanted someone to come represent a ministry re: the slavery/trafficking issue – have thought of you before but thought there was no way since you were in Thailand. Yet the Spirit prompted me this morning to contact you and see if there was any possibility you might be in the States for some reason this coming Sept. 28 – 29. I was astounded to read that yes – you will indeed be in the States! I know Colorado is a long way from Greensboro, NC, but I’d love for you to pray about coming to the conference in order to share about your ministry via a ministry booth. Women will have the opportunity to visit the ministry booths on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon. The desire is for attendees to not only draw closer to Christ at the CCC, but also be mobilized to imitate His actions. I would love for you to participate in this mission! Please let me know your initial thoughts – I will continue in prayer.

    Here’s the link for more information:   http://www.proclaiminghimtowomen.com/connecting-with-christ-conference/ 

    I’ll be in prayer for you and your family as you make this transition. May the Lord encourage and strengthen you daily as He increasingly clarifies His plan for you.

    Love to you in Christ,
    Emily

    • lauraparkerblog

      Wow, Emily–

      Thanks for thinking of me and inviting me– will definitely check it out! :)

      Thanks for being sensitive to the Spirit’s nudging– love when He nudges and we listen. Appreciate your encouragement.

  • http://www.ntm.org/david-abbott David Abbott

    As one who has made a transition from overseas service to ministering from my home country, I can say that no transitional challenge compares to the perception by previous ministry partners that geography has everything to do with effective ministry.  You will receive letters informing you that your ministry no longer fits their mission profile now that you are located in the USA.   It will be painful, but God is faithful even if it means greater personal sacrifice to serve from where God has lead you to be most effective for Him.  Praying for your transition!

    • lauraparkerblog

      David, this hit the root of many of my fears:

      “I can say that no transitional challenge compares to the perception by previous ministry partners that geography has everything to do with effective ministry.”

      Honestly, I can say that 2 years ago, I would have rolled my eyes and just said you were being “negative”. But, having grown up a little, I think I can say that you are probably right, and that I really appreciate your honesty in gently preparing me for it . . . Thanks so much for that.

      • http://www.ntm.org/david-abbott David Abbott

         My intention in being honest is to encourage you to keep your eyes on Jesus when those who used to be so enthusiastic about your ministry bail for geographic reasons. Your children will go through as much reverse culture shock as you — maybe more.  Do what you can to include some fun times as you prepare to leave — possibly a mini-vacation at the beach or whatever would leave very happy memories of their time in Thailand. Blessings!

        • lauraparkerblog

          Thanks, David– I really appreciated your honesty and encouragement to keep our eyes on Jesus– such a simple, transformational challenge. I appreciate your wisdom . . .

  • http://www.facebook.com/emily.allen.792740 Emily Allen

    I cried while I read this, and I still can’t decide whether it was with sadness or joy.
    I am so glad that I’ll be able to see you again! To be able to talk with you, hug you at church, play with your kids. You all left a big hole, and it will be so strange and wondrous to have that filled again. Your family will always fit here.
    But I’m also sad. I can’t imagine pouring so much of yourself into people, organizations, and an entire country, and then leaving. Flying back from a place where you had just settled. However, I know that you don’t take this lightly, and that you only move when God moves you.
    I’m so excited to see you all, and I will be praying for you through this transitional time. You have been a mentor and an inspiration to me for years.
    I love you so much! Wish I could hug you (but that will have to wait until later)!

    Emily Allen

    • lauraparkerblog

      Emily, you are precious.

      just a gift to the world.

      can’t wait to get back and hang out with you and hear how your years have been. thanks for your encouragement– wise beyond your years. see you soon, friend.

  • Chrisgrissom29

    I cried as well….i was very moved, and would like to talk with you. this is the only post ive read so far, but will read more. i feel God is calling me into missions, and particularly to fight against the sex trade. I’m not exactly sure how to answer it.

    • lauraparkerblog

      glad you found us! feel free to email me:

      laura {at} nvader.org.

      love your heart to fight trafficking . . .

  • http://hikingtowardhome.com/ Sharon@HikingTowardHome

    Will be praying for you my friend. Coming home isn’t as easy as those stateside may think it should be. Praying for your next adventure God has given you.

    • lauraparkerblog

      Thanks, Sharon– I know you KNOW all about this . . .

      thanks for your prayers– maybe the possibility of us meeting in person just increased? did ya’ll end up moving to NC?

      • http://hikingtowardhome.com/ Sharon@HikingTowardHome

        no we didn’t move. we are still in MD. However if you go to the Allume Social blogging conference hosted by SarahMae in Harrisburg, PA, I will be there!! :-)

  • Sharon O

    I think it is wonderful…your heart is good. Your mission for justice is good. Your desire to do it differently is wonderful.
    HOME is a good place. let me know how I can support you even if it is in little ways.

    • lauraparkerblog

      Thanks, Sharon– appreciate your kind words. :)

  • http://megangonemobile.tumblr.com/ Megan

    goodness gracious, what a post. Thank you so much for laying your life out for all to see. And for choosing what’s best over what’s flashy.

    About a year ago I was all set to go move to Chiang Mai. I was terrified, but mostly excited about learning to live life in Thailand. AND THEN my Dad got cancer. AND THEN I stayed home. (while I said a goodbye to a life of missions) AND THEN it hurt to read your blog because I wanted it so bad. It was normal for me to cry while reading your blog, AND THEN you wrote this one and it was no exception. I know I don’t know you, but I’m aching for you. Your blog has been life giving to me in such crazy difficult times. Thanks for letting your transition be that for me as well!

    Praying for grace in the letting go of dreams and in the building of new ones!

    • lauraparkerblog

      Wow, Megan. thanks for your honesty. seems like you have had quite a journey of letting go and picking up different dreams. thanks for your encouragement. so thankful i have been allowed to entered your world a bit through this blog. :)

      appreciate, truly and really, our kind words!

  • Courtneyorrange

    We are currently spending a few weeks near your home, in Palmer Lake. We’ve been praying like crazy for everyone effected by the fire.

    Just a quick note to say, ‘good job’. You have listened to god and you,are continuing to follow Him in the hard times and the hard decissions. He continues to, and will continue to, use you all for His Glory.

    • lauraparkerblog

      Thanks for your encouragement . . . . :) Sad for CO, right? Must have been wild to be so close last week . . .

  • OutnumberedMom

    Wow, Laura. Praying for you and your family as you make this move. I can certainly understand the mixed emotions. Bless you for listening to Him and being faithful!

    • lauraparkerblog

      Thanks so so much, Laura.

  • Amy Stewart

    Well you know how excited we are to have you back in the states!!!! Hope your trip with Cas went well and we’ll be praying for your transition back home. I’m already checking flights to CO. :-) (and I’m sure Mom’s trip is probably booked!)

    I LOVED reading all the comments from your friends all over the world. Amazing how many lives and hearts you have touched with your honest and powerful writing.  And writing that will no doubt continue to inspire regardless of which continent you wake up in. Blessed to call you my sis…

    Love you!
    Amy 

    • lauraparkerblog

      Um, two words:

      PIKES PEAK.

      haha . . .

      Can’t wait to see you, too.

  • Kelli

    Wow wow wow. I have been without internet for just over a week on behalf of the fire, and heard about this news from Christian. I so admire you, Laura. I cannot imagine all of the emotions you must have running through you, but what I know is that you constantly say “yes” to whatever God has for you and your family. To summarize what happened in me when I heard this- excited, thankful, already planning what we are going to do, can’t wait to see and squeeze your babies, can’t wait to figure out how to be helpful, can’t wait to listen to you, to do your hair at my school, to be in the same not only country, but state as you. I cannot wait to hear more. I am praying for you guys.  

    • lauraparkerblog

      oh, man, you are awesome.

      it’ll be a gift to be in the general area of you and that new husband of yours . . . :)

      SEE you soon,
      Laura

  • Richelle Lynn Wright

    I read this a week ago – tried to comment then – unsuccessfully. Don’t remember if it was power, internet or just my computer crashing at the moment… I’ve been praying for you much this week as the Lord has brought you and your sweet ones to mind often. I’m a little jealous that you know where your transition is heading… we’re still hanging out on the tight rope, hanging tight, waiting, wondering which way He wants us to go. But only a little – I’m so excited for you, too. What a change! What an opportunity. A part of me wishes I could come along for the ride myself.

    I can’t wait to see how God is goin to use you, your obedience, your passion, your family… over the next weeks, months and years!

    Many, many blessings and prayers!

  • Annie

    Dear Laura, I read this the other day and had to think on it a couple days and come back!  Not because of your decision, but because how it affected me!  :)  I am a follower of your blog, but only comment occasionally.  What you have expressed about your decision makes perfect sense.  I can see you have prayed about it and trust God has led you to a more effective ministry!  I know it will be a big change after acclimating your family, but God is so good.  I pray blessings on your family in this new aspect of your ministry!  I think I had a hard time with your post because my dream is overseas missions.  I have begun praying for God to open a door and show our family where we would be most effective in an overseas mission.  You are the 2nd overseas mission family blog that I follow this week that announced they are coming home.  When I see you all coming home, I think, “no!  they are leading the way!”  Then, I fear my dream my not come to pass.  I know that my focus should be on His plan and not my dream, but I am telling you I am certain He planted this dream in my heart.  I will just keep my dream alive and know they if we are willing; he is leading all of us wherever he needs us to be when he needs us to be there.  

  • Evan Stookey

    There’s a whole lot more I’d like to say, but for now… Can’t wait to see you guys and have you back home!!!
    -Evan

    • lauraparkerblog

      Thanks man! Matt’s looking forward to hanging out with you especially!

  • http://homegrownsunshine.wordpress.com/ Anna

    Thinking of you a lot.  It is interesting the transition that is ahead for us both right now.  
    We just found out our foster kids are leaving us.  We were shocked with the news.   The process of letting go seems almost unbearable.  
    I, too, am deeply sad to close this chapter of my life.  
    I will pray for you and I request your prayers.  Lord knows we need help navigating through all of this.  
    I love you, dear friend.  
    ~ Anna

    • lauraparkerblog

      Oh friend. I cannot imagine. My heart is so incredibly heavy for all of you tonight. So. Heavy. Prayers from here to there.
      Laura

  • Beth Chadwick

    Laura, I’m praying for your family during this time. Thank you for all that you’ve done for me through your honest writing. We have just started this journey overseas and it is indeed hard, but I’m thankful for being able to look at the truth of how you handled your time overseas. So excited for your new adventure and praying big for God’s provision in every way. 

    • lauraparkerblog

      Oh, Beth– funny that we are trading places! Thanks for your encouragement . . . feel like I know you a little bit, even over the wires. Hang in there– this journey is so deeply good on so many levels . . .

      lots of love from here,
      L

  • http://arms-wide-open.squarespace.com arms wide open

    Wow. Best wishes to you guys and the huge transition that awaits.

    • lauraparkerblog

      Thanks, friend. You have really journeyed this period of my life with me online in encouraging ways . . .

  • Tbuttery6

    Taking a minute here to communicate during this month-long time of having both my 85 year-old daddy and 7 year-old grandson here . . .
    You are not leaving “the front lines”.  The front line is where we are when we are doing what we discern and KNOW God has planned for us.  Please, please don’t sabotage your passion and effectiveness and JOY with a perceived hierarchy of service value. 
    This is akin to a stay-at-home mom feeling devalued when she knows what a “better” career she could have.  Or the teacher who looks at his salary and looks at what the world says and feels like he’s not accomplishing anything.  It is way past time to break down the barriers of deciding which area of service is most valuable.  Yup.  Some areas will always pay more dollar-wise.  We need to allow ourselves to be set free to follow Christ’s leading.
    Please let us be a reminder to you and to Matt that we trust that you two have prayed and LISTENED to come to this decision. 
    Can’t wait to hug your neck (or go for a walk/run, or lift a barbell!) with you!!!

    • lauraparkerblog

      Oh, Tamara, this, THIS:

      The front line is where we are when we are doing what we discern and KNOW God has planned for us. Please, please don’t sabotage your passion and effectiveness and JOY with a perceived hierarchy of service value.

      This is so true, so perfect. Can’t wait to hear your wisdom in person soon!!

  • Mrs. Huggins

    I hope I get to meet you in real life. Your heart makes me cry in a good way. Is that weird?

    • lauraparkerblog

      Not weird at all– and yes, real life always sounds good. You are not around Colorado are you? :)

      • Mrs. Huggins

        No, Fort Campbell in Clarksville TN. Near NAshville. But we have friends in Breckenridge and Denver and Colorado Springs. It’s not outside the realm of possibility for us to be in that area now and again.

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