October 1: The Unknown

Katie Kleinjung Missions, Real Messy Missions, Thailand 1 Comment

So much of actually doing anything is just starting.

The bummer for me is there often isn’t a magic system or sequence of action steps that results in whatever life event at hand  asking to be accomplished.

The best example I have right in front of me is parenting. Holy balls. No books or classes or friends sharing their experiences or years of nannying can prepare you for actually owning, having in your possession and responsibility, a child. Especially of the infant variety. Also birth. All those things, nope. Nothing can get you ready for when it’s actually happening.

You’re pregnant or in the adoption process or thinking of starting a family, you’re reading books and taking classes and journaling and dreaming and planning and talking with your partner or friends about the kind of parent you’ll be and then BOOM. KID’d. CHILD WITH YOU. PARENTHOOD.

Before you know it, you’re however far in just doing it. 

Maybe you’re doing the things you said you would. Maybe the onesies are still folded cute. Maybe the songs are being sung. Maybe you look the way you said you would this far out. Maybe your marriage is the way you read about and talked about in counseling.


But chances are they’re not. It’s not. You’re not. The baby’s not.

Chance are, it happened (baby, or whatever else), and you just started doing it. 

And you eventually find your footing and fall into a rhythm and maybe even implement those plans you carefully and thoughtfully crafted.

..and that’s just it. There’s no magic step list or formula. You just say yes.

You just do what’s in front of you, though unknown, you do it.

And that’s where we find ourselves with being missionaries.

We said yes. 

When we said yes, we had all these pictures in our minds of what that yes would work itself  out to look like.

But then we got pregnant. And Stephen need to have his colon removed. And. And. And.

But, we said yes. We said yes and we started.

-We found the organization we would go to Thailand under and through, Venture Expeditions.

-We moved into a tiny apartment to save money and start living simply.

-We got a team of people around us praying, holding us accountable and encouraging us.

-We started praying and fasting like never before.

-We started raising awareness of the issues surrounding the exploitation of vulnerable people through screenings and Q & A meetings.

-We got our hands on all we could: books, people, movies, sermons, anything, that would give us wisdom on being missionaries.

-We started fundraising.

-We got a baby passport for Shepherd.

-We made living wills and power of attorney.

-We moved in with friends.

… and here we are, a year and a half later from that first yes, and we’re getting ready to buy plane tickets.

We got here simply by doing the next, though often unknown, thing. The step before predetermined the next. 

Hear me: we’ve never known what to do beyond the next thing. 

And it’s been terrifying and exciting and empowering and humbling and made us so aware of all we are not and all God is and so, so dependent on Him for everything. 

And here’s the thing, no one told me this. When I started going to church as a teen, when I went to Bible college, when I went to Christian University, when I went on mission trip after mission trip, when I started Seminary, when I got married and got pregnant, no one told me. 

No one told me that you really don’t know what to do until you’re doing it. That you just have to start.

And so here we are. Missionaries. How? Oh you know, just by living into the unknown. Super simple and easy and comfortable. (no. no, it’s none of those.)

I don’t know what we’re doing half the time with anything: marriage, parenting, becoming missionaries, being in community with others, cooking, whatever. But I do know that anything worth laying your life down for will come at the cost of saying yes to the unknown.

And it is a hell of a ride.

There’s no map and it’s hard as heck most of the time, but man, it’s an adventure.

So just say yes.

Just start.


Posted by Katie

Posted by Katie

Comments 1

  1. we are on the other side of the adventure.
    fifteen years in mexico. and now back to the U.S.
    Three of four kids born there.
    we’ve been home eight years now…and still adjusting.

    I’ll keep reading.

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