I have never felt more out of my depth.
My husband Glyn and I were nearing the end of our long-haul flight from New Zealand to Budapest, Hungary. Up until this moment, I had been fairly calm and collected, because the whole process of planning this trip to Hungary had been smooth and positive. But sleep deprivation was starting to kick in and the recliner on the airplane seat never goes back as far as you need it to.
Oh, did I mention we were also travelling with an 18-month-old baby girl? Minna May is the apple of my eye, but during that long, arduous, 30 hour trip, there were definitely moments that tested the limits of parental love. She slept a grand total of 90 minutes for the whole 17 hour flight to Qatar. NINETY PRECIOUS MINUTES. I am not going to lie, it was one of the most challenging mum days to date.
Back in early 2017, I decided to take my baby girl for a trip down south to visit my family and give Glyn a nice weekend of peace and relaxation. During that weekend, my husband and I both ended up separately watching movies about Eastern Europe and the vulnerable people groups there, which is what started this whole journey to Hungary. There were obviously ups and downs to the process— fundraising, planning for Minna, getting time off work, finding the right country, etc. But all these things came together so smoothly, and there we were, off on our big adventure.
But turbulence and that pesky gap between optimism and reality began to bite.
I just kept telling myself, “Just manage. Just stand. You don’t have to be stepping forward right at this moment. So what if Minna watches a little more TV than you like on this flight. So what if you have to cater to most of her whims to keep her from disturbing all the passengers. You just have to get to the end of the flight.”
And you know, it comes. The end comes. The good times finally do come. When that final plane landed, I felt my head lifting above the water ever so slightly. When we walked out of the Budapest luggage carousel to meet our host, I could have cried with relief. We had made it.
And you know what? I think this is what missionary life could be like. I think there are going to be good times and there are going to be great people. But sometimes, there are going to be long-haul journeys where we’re doing all we can to just keep our heads above water.
But when God says go, I hope I’m always answering, “How far?”
– By Näomi Johnston, OMS Hungary Volunteer