"I need you to go to Nigeria," said my boss one Friday afternoon as I was preparing to leave for the day.
"Sure," I replied, "When?"
"Next week," she said. "Something came up."
Getting ready to go with just a few days' notice wasn't what I had expected, but thankfully, I was mostly ready to go. Traveling to meet our persecuted brothers and sisters isn't like preparing for a vacation, and it's not even like packing for an overseas mission trip.
My first thought was to make sure my husband would be in town to take care of our son. He also works for VOM, and travels about every-other-month to some of the hottest regions in the world. It turned out that yes, he'd be around to watch our two-year-old, but I needed to cut my trip a little short in order to be home before he left on his next trip.
As we travel for VOM to meet with the persecuted, my husband and I have also had to make other preparations. We have a will that details who will take care of our son should anything happen to us. We've talked with family about how we'd like him to be raised. We've named close friends in town who would be responsible for selling our home and other assets in order to provide for him. While these are things anyone should do in case of unforeseen circumstances, we're more aware than other 30-somethings that our lives might be taken at any moment.
We've also talked through our expectations of what would happen to either of us if one of us were to die. I know my husband isn't afraid to give his life in service to Christ and our brothers and sisters, and I feel the same way. When our friends offer to pray for our safety when we travel, we tell them instead to pray for God's will for our lives. If God's purposes are accomplished, then our own safety is in His hands.
There's no fear when I travel, even to places like Nigeria or Egypt, which are quite risky for Westerners. Sure, there's nervousness to make certain I've made proper preparations, or of getting lost in an unfamiliar place, but there's no fear. I'm in God's hands. I'd never choose to leave my husband and son behind, but if I'm called to do so, I know God will take care of them.
How could I not believe this, when on these trips I meet widows and orphans who can praise God despite having lost a spouse or a parent because of their Christian faith? I've met so many women who weep and mourn the loss of their husband, yet in the next breath praise God for his unchanging nature and his constant care for them. I don't expect any less from God for myself.
So when the Lord calls, I'm ready to go—whether it's to Nigeria next week or to eternity with him.
Dory P. has worked with VOM for six years. She grew up in Ecuador, met her husband while working with another mission organization, and now lives in Oklahoma. Between Dory, her husband and two-year-old son, they share five passports. Dory helps tell the stories of the persecuted through VOM's newsletter, and her husband serves with VOM's international department.