Leaving a Legacy

At Mission Central we like to share observations from mission workers on what they’ve learned during their time serving others.

This article originally appeared on the Operation Mobilization blog by OM worker, Beth.


We planted a walnut tree in our garden in Central Asia.

As we sat in its meager shade (it’s still a small tree) my husband smiled and said: “Just think, one day our grandchildren will be able to climb this tree and enjoy a view over the whole city!” For a few moments I enjoyed the thought of a huge leafy tree with my grandchildren climbing it and then reality hit. Why did we plant a walnut tree? Our grandchildren will probably never come here for a visit to see it, never mind live in this house!

Why are we investing time and money here when it’s all temporary anyway? Who knows how long we will be allowed to continue living here?

And yet God commanded the exiles living in Babylon to plant gardens and seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which He carried them into exile (Jeremiah 29:4-7).

When we first left to come to Central Asia, we packed up five suitcases to take with us and then built a shed in my parent’s garden—making sure that it was rain and insect proof—and we stored the rest of our lives in big plastic tubs in that shed. During our second home assignment we once again went through all our precious possessions which were literally being damaged by moth and rust and decided that it would be better for these things to be used rather than grow old waiting in boxes for us to need them someday.

When we leave Central Asia, what will we leave behind?

What followed were some of the most painful days of my life as we gave away the special gifts we had received at our wedding: our Canadian oak coffee table and so many other treasures that held worth because of the memories stored within them.

Getting rid of our possessions back home and planting trees and living life here has had me mulling over the question: “When we leave Central Asia, what will we leave behind?”

We certainly won’t leave behind a shed filled with stuff in somebody’s garden, but what other treasures will we leave?

I love hearing from the local people here about the workers that have gone before us who have now returned to their passport countries. I hear stories like: “She taught me to quilt” or “She gave me this recipe” or “She taught me how to set a table for foreigners” and, of course, the best stories begin: “She taught me about Jesus.” These are the things those who have gone before us have left behind.

What will be left of us after we leave Central Asia? Hopefully there will be people here whose lives have been changed or at least have been affected from having known us and from knowing the One we’ve pointed them to.

And there will be a walnut tree growing in a garden on the outskirts of the city.

Share this page

About the author

Beth is from the global South, and she loves the ocean and cold Christmas dinner on a hot day around the pool. She is married to an adventurer, and they have three wonderfully unique children.

Series: Mission Workers’ Perspectives

See all Read more...
Article

Why Local and Global Missions Need Each Other

"God has been in the business of pushing his people out of their current context and sending them into the wider world."Read more Read more...

Article

A Transition Toolbox

For when you look like a local but don't FEEL like a localRead more Read more...

Article

Are We Serving Orphans?

Disturbing facts about the orphanage model are causing many churches to rethink their strategy for orphan ministry.Read more Read more...

Article

What We Get Wrong About Church Planting

What we are actually planting is the Gospel and what we are harvesting is the church.Read more Read more...

More on Mission Central

Random Posts

Devotional

Altar Vision Devotional - Week 1

What does the Christian idea of surrender mean? (Why surrender to God?)Read more Read more...

Article

Update on Venezuela

The difficult situation of Venezuelan Christians is complex: A missionary perspectiveRead more Read more...

Mission Resource

A Neighbourly Invitation

What would it look like to pray for those closest to us, in our backyards? A Neighbourly Invitation is just that initiative to prayer and more.Read more Read more...

Event Recap

Vancouverites Sing with One Voice

Vancouver praising Jesus together on Canada's 150th anniversaryRead more Read more...

Random Posts

Quotation

“Impacting Our World”

God has never stopped calling for a movement of ‘Little Jesuses’ to follow him into the worldRead more Read more...

Article

Why We Go to Communities Where Christ is Least Known

Where shall we buy bread for the people who are hungry for the gospel? Why we go to communities where Christ is least knownRead more Read more...

Article

Are We Monotheists? Really?

At its heart, Christianity is a messianic movement that seeks to authentically embody the life, spirituality, teachings, and mission of JesusRead more Read more...

Article

Why Local and Global Missions Need Each Other

"God has been in the business of pushing his people out of their current context and sending them into the wider world."Read more Read more...