When we tell people we are returning to Singapore, they often respond by saying, “You must love it there!” Well, yes and no. I love many things about Singapore, but there are also many things I don’t.
I don’t love the pace of life and the crowds of the city. I love wide open spaces and wild places. I don’t love the year-round humidity and heat of the tropics. I love the seasons; the beauty of changing leaves in fall, the crispness of snow in winter, and the bursting forth of new life in spring. I don’t love the challenges of living as a foreigner in a foreign land, far from friends and family, constantly struggling with the feeling of being displaced and unsettled. I love being close to long-time friends and family, rooted and grounded in one place without the fear and frustration of having to uproot and move again and again.
On the other hand, I love living in a clean, safe city where everything works and there is minimal corruption. I love being a part of what God is doing in Asia. I love watching the church there grow exponentially and see churches catch a vision to take the gospel to the world. I love being part of the ministry of the East Asia School of Theology, training current and future world Christian leaders. I love hearing the incredible stories of God’s faithfulness in the students’ lives and all the wonderful ways He has used and is using them for His glory.
During our assignment back in the US, I wrestled hard with these somewhat polarizing loves, especially as the wait to return became extended. Was I waiting for some other call? Was I hoping for a new (and presumably easier) assignment?
I think if I am honest, although I never sent out any resumes and made no inquiries, I secretly hoped God would put it on someone’s heart to offer me a teaching position somewhere—anywhere—in the US. But the offer never came. There was not even a hint or possibility raised by anyone. The heavens and earth were both deafeningly silent with regard to this hidden desire to stay and enjoy all the loves I associated with American life.
In the end it was very, very clear—not as a matter of default, but as a matter of divine calling—that God wanted me back in Singapore. And with that calling came a renewed sense of excitement for all the things He wanted to do in and through me there.
Do I love Singapore or the USA? Well, much more than either, and above all else, I love God and want to obey and follow Him, wherever He leads. Right here and right now, that means continuing to serve and seek Him in Singapore—and anywhere else He might take me on this marvelous journey of faith.