Moving overseas increases the amount of transition that workers face on a regular basis. For many people who are working to see the Gospel go forth among the Hui, transition is a big part of life. For starters, many of us are transitioning to a completely new culture, a new language, new food, sights and smells.
The more you travel internationally, the higher the likelihood you will experience the frustrations of getting, changing, or reapplying for a visa. Visas are a necessary part of living in many countries. This is also true if you work with the Hui in China. Visa problems can be especially stressful since delays or hiccups may cause you to unexpectedly leave the country, force you to change airline tickets, and even be rejected entry into the country.
My home among the Hui is on the edge of the Gobi Desert, the largest desert in Asia with an area of 500,000 square meters. The weather is dry, and it rarely rains or snows. I come from a place in America that has a very similar climate so it was not a hard adjustment adapting to the physical environment. However most recently I lived in the Pacific Northwest where rain is much more common. Sometimes my spirit seems to match the environment in its dryness, and I long for rain to quench my thirst spiritually.
Sometimes, when you hear a new song, there’s one single line that just gets stuck in your head. For me, “Prayer for the Hui” has one of those lines. Of course, there are clearly God-glorifying, gospel-centered words throughout the song, laying before God our prayer that He would work throughout the world bringing people into His Kingdom. But there was this one line that resonated with me in a profound way and had a huge impact on my thoughts and prayers, because it was so applicable to my own life and my own struggles with sharing the gospel with those I know personally.
Many years passed and Xiao Wei and her family returned to their rural hometown. She began to do some sewing and to grow sunflowers and fava beans on a small plot of land. Some of her friends came to visit and helped her from time to time with the farming. Life became more difficult. She broke her leg while trying to harvest sunflowers. Her crippled daughter died of pneumonia a few months later.
When the Father called our family to full-time overseas service, we weren’t actually even a family yet. We were merely two college students moving towards an engagement and marriage and starting to process what the future would look like.