We are celebrating our twentieth anniversary and reflecting on how good God has been to us through all these years. Our journey has not been the easiest, however it has been and still is more vibrant and adventure-filled than what we could imagine or even plan. Together we experienced what it means to be truly committed to each other. Our marriage is far from perfect, but we both believe that we would not be what God wanted us to be without each other’s love and encouragement. Together we learned to practice grace toward one another when we faced judgment from the outside. We learned how to see the God-given potential in each other and not to be discouraged by life’s barriers. We have learned to be a shoulder to lean on and cry when we encounter devastating situations. We stand by each other’s side and believe we have the ability to accomplish our objectives even while facing life’s discouragement.
Together we traveled the globe, lived in many countries, and have been exposed to people from a wide variety of cultures and backgrounds that enriched our way of thinking. Some of them have changed our perspective on what we used to consider normal or the expected thing to do. Through the last twenty years of our marriage, we have moved to so many houses to the point that we stopped counting them. For example, in one year we counted how many times we changed the place we lived by how many mattresses we slept on in that year (25 of them!).
We dreamed of having a stable life, which we define like most people as having a place to call home. A place where we would be able to pull out our personal belongings from the storage we have used in Jordan for more than fifteen years. To be able to start a family. For a long time, this desire for having a house somewhere was very intense. We felt we were strangers and temporary residents in whatever city or country we found ourselves. Together we left our jobs as full time Christian workers and took a huge step of faith, leaving behind all that was “secure and safe,” according to the people around us. We started to pursue our dreams and to learn about God’s call on our life.
We went to the land of freedom and opportunities. We arrived in the U.S. with hearts full of hurts and hopes; the hope of what God might have in-store for us and a heart full of hurts when we looked back at all the years we invested in relationships that we now had to leave behind. While we made many sacrifices to minister to people, we thought that all we did was in vain and pointless. Soon God revealed to us the value of our service because He sees from above and His ways and thoughts are much higher than ours. God opened the gates of heaven and earth and poured blessings into our life. He rewarded us and gave us beauty instead of ashes. He blessed us with many friends who not only believed in us but also considered it a privilege to support our vision and the ministry that God placed in our hearts for our people. Our initial plan upon moving to the U.S was to accomplish three goals. To pursue advanced education, adopt a baby and start a new model of ministry.
Now as we approach our twentieth anniversary we are opening a new chapter of our life. This chapter happens to be in New Zealand, the fascinating island with more than two hundred ethnic groups and nationalities. We cannot help being in awe of God with hearts full of appreciation and gratefulness. After all these many years of being away from family, God gave us the chance to be close to them. Most of my family lives in New Zealand, while a few live further away, as I have a large family.
I do not know how long George and I will live and continue to celebrate our anniversaries together before death separates us, but I surely know that God has been faithful to us throughout all of the past twenty years. I also know that the same God who started a good work in us is able to bring it to completion. So our desire is not only for our marriage to continue to thrive but also to be a hope for others.