Oh yes we did. We moved to New Zealand. We sold our business, all of our large items and furniture, said goodbye to family and friends and are finally here.
It’s actually been on my heart for a while to start this blog. We’ve been on quite an adventure the last year or so. If you are reading this you probably know us at least a little bit. We have never really fit in any sort of “box” but are okay with that.
Shane and I actually met here in Oxford, New Zealand in 2003. I was a young 20-year old traveling to my first country. I had finished 2 years of college in Hawaii and was still wondering what to do with my life. I was also a new Christian and living with my Aunt and Uncle at the time. They knew I was struggling with life and told me about a 6-month discipleship training school that also had a focus on backpacking. Lord of the Rings was newly popular and filmed in NZ and it didn’t take much to convince me that was my next step.
Long story short, I came to do the school and my heart was captured for the world and mission work. The biggest thing I learned in that time was that God had a purpose for my life and gifts He had given me to fulfill that purpose. Also that if I was living in that purpose, I could trust Him for the best. But oh what a grand adventure it has been! An adventure in saying “yes” to Him.
Now let me tell you that adventure does not always mean “fun” or “easy”. Probably even the opposite at times. But I wouldn’t trade any of it because all of it has shaped who I am and who we are as a family.
I can say that it was definitely harder to say yes this time. When we were single and newly married it didn’t hurt so bad to say yes. But this time, it hurt. Saying yes to God this time meant moving to a place we both love…but it also meant moving our four kids across the world and leaving my family. My parents are amazing and also loving grandparents for our children. If anything would have held us back, it would have been leaving them. I’m tearing up right now just thinking about it.
But there are also so many blessings in living the lives God has dreamed up for us. And we will never know any of those blessings unless we say yes.
It took months to plan and prepare for this adventure. We prayed. We cried (well I did, a lot). We dreamed. We had many trials along the way. A stressful business sale, Shane’s back surgery, other family illnesses and even our daughter being hit by a car and breaking her femur.
But when it got hard and I thought I was probably just going crazy, God always showed himself to us. One day I was almost having a breakdown and thinking, “God, what are we doing???” I was walking out of the grocery store at that same moment and literally ran in to the Women’s Pastor from our relatively large church. She said, “Tara, how are you?” Needless to say it was just what I needed in that moment. We talked and she prayed for me. What a God-send.
Also when we were in the Children’s Hospital after Abbi’s leg surgery. She had gotten a titanium flexi-nail put into her femur. We were pretty shaken up and asking the surgeon questions about it. It was May and we were moving to New Zealand in September. What if she needed surgery to have it taken out? The surgeon simply said (in his most serious surgeon voice), “Well, the best surgeons in the world that do that procedure actually live in New Zealand, in a city called Christchurch”.
Yep, that’s basically where we were going. To you, a coincidence maybe? But to us, it was the Lord saying He was watching over us and also taking care of our children.
So, after months of ups and downs we finally made it here. From the minute we arrived it just. felt. right. We love our roles here at the YWAM missionary training location and we love the small town we live in. I love always seeing someone I know when I go to the grocery store. And being the American family at school. Our kids have done so well and I’m so impressed with them. They have probably adjusted better than I have and are already local celebrities. Even though I get pretty homesick at times for family and friends, my heart is full. God knew what he had in store for us here and it is good.
Life is short. Live the life God dreamed up for you. Please don’t wait. It just gets harder and harder to say yes. If anything, my heart through doing this blog is to encourage and inspire. If you are already living that life, good for you! I am encouraged and inspired by you. But if you are fearful and not ready to give up some things in order to follow God, please take it from me that it will be worth it in the end. It does look different for everyone. For me this time it was giving up the American Dream. The house, good schools, being near family and that perfect little life. It meant moving across the world. For you it will look completely different.
But with great sacrifice also comes great gain. And God knows your sacrifice. Let Him give you the life He has been wanting to give you. Just say YES. He will take care of the rest.
To continue following the Jette family’s ministry in New Zealand, visit jettesinnewzealand.wordpress.com.