Serving at Black Forest Academy


on April 7, 2013

Really enjoyed reading an article about “Saudade“.

The famous saudade of the Portuguese is a vague and constant desire for something that does not and probably cannot exist, for something other than the present, a turning towards the past or towards the future; not an active discontent or poignant sadness but an indolent dreaming wistfulness. ~ In Portugal of 1912, A. F. G. Bell

The longing for things past — that heart-longing for things as they used to be, a homesickness of sorts. I see it in my Dad as he dreams almost nightly about his hometown of Manlius, IL (the center of the universe if you hadn’t heard). I see it in myself when I think back to free-spirited days in college, or days when I could just sit and read Scripture uninterrupted for hours, or the days and nights spent doing Youth Hostel Ministry in Europe. So many rich memories and every now and then a deep longing for the days of old.


I’ve felt a calling since college to be back in Europe someday doing full-time missions. I can remember going to an undiscovered-to-us Christian youth hostel in Bergen, Norway and thinking “this is what I love!”. That moment when God shows you the thing that matches the rhythm of your heart. Although we won’t be doing youth hostel ministry in particular when we go to Germany, I hope to be able to serve in a guest house for missionaries in need of physical or emotional care. It’s called The Sanctuary and it’s run by seasoned missionaries from our mission organization, TeachBeyond. How cool of God to put this in our path! Joel will be able to serve in his area of calling by providing counseling services to missionaries in crisis (as well as missionary kids at BFA)and me in mine by helping with hospitality and sitting over a cup of tea with a new friend.

I think part of my experience of Saudade, related to my YHM days, has to do with a calling that had not yet come to fruition. Although the road to Germany is arduous with support-raising, the peace I have felt since saying “yes” and preparing to embark on this mission is life-giving. I have struggled with discontentment for many years, but much of me has wondered if it wasn’t a “holy discontentment” of sorts. I felt called after that first summer of Youth Hostel Ministry, and choosing to set that calling aside for a peaceful life in Wheaton was not in fact peaceful.

I love looking back and I love looking forward. I have always struggled to be someone who lives in the present. As we step forward and respond to this calling from 16 years ago, I am able to have peace in the present. I am able to do what needs to be done today and my contentment is at an all time high. So, maybe, just maybe, if you continue to struggle with contentment, could it be that God is stirring something new in you related to your past and to your future? Why not pray about it, step out in faith and see?  Feel free to share some ideas on how you can see Saudade in your life. Blessings on your journey!

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