|With Grandma in February 2013|
It would be her 90th birthday today. She went to be with Jesus in January of this year, but in a sense, she finally made it to China. It just took 2 generations.
My Grandma wanted to tell others about Jesus, and thought that China would be the place. But when she met - and then married - my Grandpa, he was headed to Africa. So, she put her dreams on hold and followed her husband, throwing her life into the work and raising 4 children in Tanzania. I grew up inspired by her love and sacrifice. If a combination of words would describe my Grandma well, it would be gentle strength.
Later, after their children were grown and married, my grandparents spent some years in Malaysia and Singapore, among the Chinese people living there. She got closer to the tug on her heart, but didn't make it to China soil.
Never did I think I'd be the one to go. But here we are.
I do smile when I think that I represented China in a dance for our presentation of "Let the Nations Be Glad" 3 years ago, never ever dreaming I'd be living there one day!
And in a sense, my Grandma is one who helped us get here. Of course, her example was a huge encouragement to follow, to know you can raise children in an overseas context. But her legacy, her inheritance, also allowed us to.
We were saddened by my Grandma's passing in January, though at the same time rejoicing that her suffering was over. A month later, the first of two large checks arrived in the mail, as my grandparent's estate was being divided among the children and grandchildren. They had saved and invested well. Our initial plan was to use it as a down payment on a house, and that's still our goal, one day. But when the job in China soon became a reality, and by implication we faced 3 months without a pay check, those checks from my grandparents gave us a cushion that allowed us to go. We will eventually get reimbursed for the start-up costs, so my inheritance will still be invested and saved towards a house (if/when we move back to the States). But in the meantime, it has helped. My grandparents helped.
And that's really cool. And humbling. The Providence of God is amazing.