Hard Christian Truths

Unmet Expectations

It never is what you thought it would be

j taliaferro
4 min readJul 23, 2021


I have been thinking a lot about unmet expectations and how those often unacknowledged ideas rule our lives. They can often be the driving force behind what causes new missionaries to return home. Let me share with you my experience in hopes that it will help you to see the bigger picture. That even in the death of your highest hopes, God will resurrect His true purpose in your life that will blossom into something you never could have imagined.

Our First term as missionaries was a case study in unmet expectations and surprise disasters. We were supposed to go to Peru to lead teams of young men planting churches in the villages and training them up in the skills they needed for that task. Here is a short list of our dashed hopes just for giggles:

• Six days after arriving I had a terrible accident. I had a broken back, two broken arms and I was paralyzed from the waist down (yeah that was a good indicator of things to come)

• I endured six months of surgeries, rehab, and recovery in the US. I could no longer walk without the assistance of a walker or cane.

• Upon returning to the field, I was not allowed to live near our area of ministry but had to live in a big city near a hospital.

• Medevac #2 Finally thinking I had made enough progress to drop the cane…I fell again on my vacation and shattered my femur. We returned to the states for more surgery, rehab & recovery.

• We struggled through four years of infertility

• 1.5 years into our first term, my supervisor and mentor decided to transfer, and I found myself leading a team of 35+ people from 5 different cultures.

It was a tough four years. My long held dreams of the type of missionary I wanted to be, seemed to be killed and buried in unmarked graves spread all over the country of Peru.

BUT as those dreams died, I found glimmers of hope.

I learned things about God that I never knew or understood previously. I learned things about myself that surprised me. Maybe, just maybe, God knew what he was doing.



j taliaferro

Storyteller, Author & Disciple of Jesus Christ. Lover of family, sushi & world travel. I hate cotton candy, bats and the Kansas City Chiefs.