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Planning to Go, Willing to Stay

Planning to Go, Willing to Stay

On September 3rd, 1990, Wendy, and I left International Falls, Minnesota, to begin our trek to Uruguay, South America. That was 30 years ago. We wouldn’t be honest if we said the good-byes weren’t dreadful. Some of those moments will never be forgotten, such as, Wendy’s folks waving good-bye from the small airport terminal.

The trip to Uruguay was long. It was comforting to be met by our Uruguayan colleagues, but adjusting to our new home was challenging. Winter was still showing itself with cold, rainy, dreary weather. Everything seemed so drab. We wondered if we would ever learn Spanish.

Our first two weeks we stayed with Belinda. Was she ever helpful! – paperwork, medical, apartment search, bus routes, ministry introductions, etc. Then we lived downtown Montevideo for six months while we determined where we’d be ministering. That was quite the cultural shock for a country girl and small-town boy! The city of Montevideo with 1,500,000 people was pretty overwhelming.

Then we moved to another apartment where we lived the rest of our first term. Setting up home and being involved in ministry was no simple task. During our first year here, there was a six-month mail strike. We didn’t have a telephone our first four years. There were no computers or cell phones. We learned from our missionary and Uruguayan friends. Many sights, smells and sounds invaded our senses that we’d never be able to explain.

Since we first began the process of coming to Uruguay, we’ve had fires, sickness, crashes, deaths (of family and friends), disappointment, and heartache. But then, we have also been blessed beyond measure…because the Lord of the harvest who sent us has always cared for us each step of the way. Would we do it all over again? Yes, we would! There’s no other place we’d rather be.

The Lord of the harvest has His perfect plan. As He sends, He accomplishes what He wants. We know we need to be yielded to Him as willing workers…in His harvest. He knows the end from the beginning. He also gives us His precious promises. He will be with us to the end of the age. He will never leave nor forsake us. He knows our needs better than we do. What He has begun He will complete – in His way and in His time. And over the years He has blessed us with providing partners. Many have been a part of our prayer and financial team for over 30 years. Without them we couldn’t have kept at it. Their investment, involvement, interest and intercession have ministered to us incredibly over the years.

We are grateful for others ministering to us and with us. It’s not likely that we’ll be at it another 30 years, but while the Lord of the harvest enables us, we’ll keep laboring for Him. Because the harvest is great and the laborers are few, would you please labor with us in prayer for more laborers? Our college mission’s professor had this perspective about missions: “Be planning to go, willing to stay.” We’ve gone and never regretted it. Maybe someone who reads this letter would like to plan to go. It’s not been easy, but it’s been eternally worth it.

– Keith Hock

Contact us at if you are willing to be a co-laborer in Uruguay.