Pieces of the puzzle

by Kristi Van Dyk

Day to day life is difficult right now. There are moments of beauty and moments of heartache. There are moments of joy that bring such energy, and there are moments that are life-sucking. In my quiet times, though, God is faithful. He brings to mind images - critical pieces in our puzzle - choices we made (some choices we prayerfully considered and far others we were "trusting our instincts"). When I look back on the path of those choices, on the critical junctures in our lives, God's plan was in motion. He was setting us up, preparing us, equipping us for


Showing is always better than telling ... so let me show you. 

February, 2011 - we attended a language immersion meeting at Kalamazoo Christian Schools and met two women who would grow my personal passion for language education via immersion
August, 2011 - we enrolled our firstborn, then not yet 3, in language immersion preschool in Spanish and we began our love affair as a family with immersion education
August, 2012 - I began working for both the school and for add.a.lingua to continue delving into passionate pursuit of language immersion work
May, 2013 - the 5 of us moved to Zeeland to attend Zeeland Christian and for Kristi to work for add.a.lingua, situating us nearby the Mandarin Chinese Immersion program
August, 2013 - enrolled our firstborn (and switched her language) in Mandarin Chinese preschool coupled with Spanish preschool ... added Benjamin to Spanish immersion threeschool too
dates get a little murky here but one evening at a small group meeting in our home we were challenged to pray a big prayer, a HUGE prayer, a prayer we hadn't dared to utter before (I'm not sure that's how it was described, but that's how I remember it). We had to write down this courageous prayer on a small slip of paper, and we were going to exchange it with one other person. That person would commit to that prayer, they would constantly lift it up ... I couldn't believe what I was writing, but I remember being shocked at what came off my pen ... Pray for us as we work to bring home our son from China. 

I had no business writing that prayer. We hadn't talked about a boy. We hadn't really talked about China. We hadn't talked about adoption in years but for some reason that was on my heart. That was my big prayer. I was so sure it would never happen or that it'd be 10 years or so before it ever did that I didn't think anything of it. I wrote it down. And I know, I know for a fact, that Amy prayed for that prayer long after that evening was over. 
A short time later we left that small group, for another clear and distinct (but largely unexplainable) call. We felt called to a church that was passionate about international missions in Asia - a place that was sold out to working locally and globally. We hoped for a way for our kids to see the church interacting with the people they were growing to deeply love. We also hoped our kids could some day utilize their growing passion for people, for language, and for Jesus in an authentic way through their church. 

Our family vision collided with a church when we came to Central. The Stronger Challenge spoke to us in real and authentic ways. The campaign was about making the church stronger at home AND stronger away. This vision was a grand scale of what we hoped to do in our home - give our kids a strong foundation while preparing them to GO ... We were parenting to SEND - that's what immersion is for us. It may not be the mission field, specifically, but their language gives them access to a billion people - a billion people who need the love of Jesus in many areas of their life.

We saw this developing in the stronger challenge - and Central asked us to put that into words ... 

We had no idea when we filmed this video how God would use our kids internationally (specifically Benjamin ... doesn't watching him here give you goosebumps, knowing how he USED that language to show love this last month?) 

By the time the church aired the video, sometime in April, we had already received our pre-approval to adopt Joshua .... 

As we began to see our role in a church through this larger vision, God provided even deeper clarity to our family mission. He showed us the purpose behind all of those changes, behind all of those "choices." Each change was a piece of His bigger puzzle, His purpose and His plan for our family. 

On days like today I need to pause, to remind myself that in the hard, the busy, the ugly moments, God foresaw this family. He breathed it into being. He orchestrated it like a cosmic conductor; He crafted the storyline like a gifted writer.

I am so very fortunate to be able to watch His beauty unfold in a front row seat.  

I await, with breathless anticipation, the revealing of His next chapter.