A Postcard from the Ledge

Posted by admin in December 4th, 2012
Published in faith, Lithuania, obedience

I love being in Lithuania. Especially on days like today when the sun is shining and there is fresh snow on the ground. A delicious 21 degrees Fahrenheit is for me a perfect temperature. But not all days are like this…some days it’s a struggle. Not because of Lithuania, but because of homesickness, missing family and friends. I often wonder what am I missing in the lives and events of those I love back home in America?

Obedience means different things to different people. For some it is raising a family; for others it is starting a small business or keeping financial records at an organization that provides humanitarian aid. For Daryl and me it has meant to travel 5,057 miles away from home to live as strangers in a foreign land. We are deaf—we have no idea what is being said around us. If someone was to call out, “FIRE”, we’d have no idea what was going on. We are illiterate: as academics it is a difficult struggle to not be able to read or write; not to comprehend something as simple as a label on a jar. We are mute: we can’t answer when people speak to us. Yesterday a girl in the market asked me a question and I simply could not answer her. (I know you are thinking, “Hey! Learn the language weirdos!” We want to, but we have been so busy and Lithuanian is a really difficult language. We keep falling back on my so-so Russian and that’s been a bad habit to break!).

People ask us how many souls have we won to Christ? Well, none. How many people have made a decision to follow Jesus? None. Are you hosting Bible studies? No. What are you guys doing over there?!? Uh…good question. I guess we’re trying to simply obey Jesus and perhaps we are not doing a very good job of it.

Daryl preaches at local churches occasionally and is well-received. We invite all of my students to come hear him preach. He does a really good job of presenting the Good News clearly. He mentors local Christian leaders. He gives guest lectures at our university and he meets with leaders of other universities around the city to place more IICS professors here. He prays.

I teach my classes and I try to do a good job. I ask the Lord to help me prepare and to help me deliver a lesson of value and significance. I try to love each and every one of my students and my coworkers. I bake chocolate chip cookies. I try to listen to my students. I visit those that are sick in the hospital. I hold those in my arms who are mourning the death of a family member. I try to encourage those who are struggling with discouragement. I host parties at our apartment and fill them with chai latte and pumpkin bread. I pray for each one by name every day. Is it enough? I don’t know. This is a question I ask myself daily.

Maybe others feel this way too, but I have a constant nagging sense that I am letting everyone in my world down: my sister for not being there for her during a time of need; our daughter who is getting ready to give birth to her first child; our daughter-in-law who could use some help with three very active, very bright and beautiful kids. My Mom is struggling with her memory and I wonder if I am missing out on the last clear moments of her life. Daryl’s Mom is lonesome and misses her son dearly. And yet I can’t quench this thing in my soul…this indescribable pull to be here in our much-loved Lithuania.

We love this nation so very much and we are burdened for it. It has the highest suicide rate in the world. There is a mass emigration and it is having a profound effect on society—especially in the intellectual community. And there is this sense among the Lithuanians (at least the ones I know) that to be Lithuanian is to be Catholic and therefore Christian. But most of the people I know and speak to don’t know anything about the Bible or a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The ones I know do not understand God’s personal love for them. And so we stay…and some days it is painful. Some days it is a struggle. Some days it seems the most ridiculous thing to do.

Are we missing out on things back home? Yes. But maybe that is what God has asked of us. Our hearts break for the 3 million Lithuanians who need to know our Redeemer lives and that He knows each one of them by name and He loves them with an Eternal Love.

Hudson Taylor used to say, “We go forth on our knees.” But honestly, some days it feels more like on our bellies crawling through enemy lines, landmines, trying to avoid barbed wire and pitfalls…but through faith and hope in Jesus Christ—the Lord and Savior of all—we do at least try to move forward…little by little…bit by bit and always…only in His Name. Peace.

9 users Responded In This Post

Follow-up this post comment rss or leave a trackback
546. Rick Hinze said,
December 4th, 2012 at 6:43 am

Thank you, Teri, for your honesty and your heart for Jesus! You inspire me!

547. margaret nichols said,
December 4th, 2012 at 8:38 am

Thank you for going forth!!
No matter where you are geographically…Emmanuel, God is with you!!

hugs,love, missing you, and grateful you are letting your little light shine!!


548. Irina_M said,
December 4th, 2012 at 10:54 am

You bring joy and light to our lives!
The Millers

549. Angela said,
December 4th, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Brought me to tears, at work no less!

I have come to reluctantly accept that God’s ways are not easy to understand, but to not obey is miserable. I know He will bless you for your obedience – I also know that doesn’t make the moment any easier.

“May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble; May the name of the God of Jacob defend you; May He send you help from the sanctuary, And strengthen you out of Zion; May He remember all your offerings, And accept your burnt sacrifice.Selah May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, And fulfill all your purpose. We will rejoice in your salvation, And in the name of our God we will set up our banners! May the LORD fulfill all your petitions.” (Psalm 20:1-5)

550. Texas sister said,
December 4th, 2012 at 6:36 pm

Sweetie Pie,
I must echo Angela.
There is not much harder than missing out on family and friends but absolutely nothing more important or soul satisfying than being exactly where you are supposed to be.
I used to envy you so very much as you went off on your own following God all over the world, getting advanced degrees, working in important ministry with your brilliant husband and having adventures.
I was created to be at home with a houseful of kids for 25 years. I longed for excitement and new vistas hoping to bring the kingdom to people.
My place is to sit and intercede for those of you who go forth in the Name and do the things He puts before you.
I pray that right this moment and for as long as it takes, you both be infused with His JOY.
I love you both and count you as a fine example of how to follow hard after our Saviour.

572. jhester19 said,
December 12th, 2012 at 12:09 pm

Thank you for writing this with such honesty. Tears run down my cheeks as I read this and it resonates with my soul. We are currently raising funds to head to a closed muslim country. Our families think we have lost it for wanting to go and take our two young children. Yet, like you say we simply want to be obedient to where God is leading us. I like you said feel as though I am letting my family down at times. I know how much they love us and our children and are heart broken that we would take them so far away.
Love your ending quote…what an inspiration to keep going forward…even on our bellies.
Thank you, thank you, thank you! Much love and prayers!

576. Robin Gingerich said,
December 16th, 2012 at 3:12 am

Dear Teri,
May you be filled with confidence that you are exactly where God wants you to be.

593. Chandler said,
April 24th, 2013 at 9:18 pm

Hi Teri,

I am a student from Dallas, Texas and I have just written an essay in response to your International Institute For Christian Studies series and I just have to say I was so insired by you! Your sermons were very moving and thought provoking. Thank you 🙂


594. admin said,
April 24th, 2013 at 9:55 pm

Thanks Chandler! Those are kind and encouraging words. What are you studying in Dallas and where? I have a lot of family there.

Leave A Reply Below

Currently browsing A Postcard from the Ledge

 Username (*required)

 Email Address (*private)

 Website (*optional)

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Social Feeds

Recommended Reads

Recent Articles

Tag Cloud

Topics Search