Saturday, July 31, 2010

On Coming Home

This from Lena:

The first thing almost all our friends ask us is, “How does it feel to be home?” In one sense, it is easy to answer. I cannot deny that on cold, dark Lima days (of which there are many), I often dream about Ohio summers, truly hot days that drive us to the neighborhood pool, being home with our family. It has been fabulous to be with all our old friends. We were quite established in our lives when we left to follow the Lord’s leading to Peru, and so there are many with whom we want to meet and catch up.

Still, there is a part of us that knows that we are going back, and there is a yellow caution light in our emotional wirings that lets us know that it is dangerous to care too much about WHICH new flooring to put down, how we decorate our old house, even warning us that connecting with all the things and people we love will make leaving home a lot like it was the first time we left….hard.

So, the house is looking good, and we are going about renewing our investment in it. The old girl was sorely in need of some repairs and maintenance, and we are doing all we can to get it done right. But it won’t get our hearts the way it did before. It is, after all, just a house. But about those friends and loved ones….

We just keep on loving them. With a number of my best girlfriends, I burst into tears when I first see them. It is like I was waiting until it was safe to release my feelings about needing to leave them in the first place, and this was the first time in four years that I could. And now things are complicated, because I have friends back in Lima who I am missing!

So how does it feel to be home?

Great! But home has started to morph into somewhere that doesn't exist in the earth, but does in my heart, where my dear friends and family both here and in Peru somehow meld together into one place, and I don't have to miss any of them. It is a place where I know I am called to work and love, and still can be with those I share so much history and have loved a long time.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Work while it is day

Since being back in the states, we've been asked two questions: How does it feel to be home? And, are we going back? The answer to the first question is "Great!" Being home is fabulous--it is warm here, my mother is a great cook, and people all speak the same language. We're also enjoying how clean and green Ohio is. The transition has been somewhat difficult physically, but very rewarding emotionally. So many friends and family members have helped us, I don't know if I've ever felt so loved and supported. (Thanks everyone!)

So, if it's so great being home, are we planning to return to Peru? Absolutely! There is yet much work to be done. Our first term was very successful, in terms of accomplishing our ministry goals, and that gave us a rewarding sense of accomplishment. But it wasn't a complete sense of accomplishment. Rather, the first term now feels like it was a prelude to the real victories that are yet to come--especially now that we know much more of the language and culture. Some missionaries who feel like I do, feel constrained or hindered by the need to return to the states, but I feel very much the opposite. Rather than feeling like itineration has taken me from the work, I feel like it's part of the work. I'm eager to share about the miracles that God is doing and I'm eager for our friends and supporting churches to understand how valuable their partnership is. So, I feel blessed to be a part of the work and blessed to share the fruit of it with those who've sacrificed to make it possible. And, as much as I'm enjoying being home, I'm aware of the continuing harvest that awaits us in Peru. The Holy Spirit is transforming the lives of hundreds of families in Peru. I want to put my hand to the plow with Jesus and work while it is still day!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Prayer Requests

1.       Our AC/heat pump is dead.
2.       Our daughter (Hannah) is going on a missions trip to South Africa with the youth group from First Christian Assembly. The dates are July 18-30. We’d like to ask for prayer for Hannah, for protection, spiritual fruit, and financial support. She has not had much time to raise pledges for this trip, since she found out about it when we arrived in the states two weeks ago. Lena and I could use prayer, also, for calm nerves. Letting Hannah go on this trip is far more frightening than our trips in the jungle!
3.       Inspiration for me as I write chapter three of my doctoral project. I need big inspiration, fast!
4.       Favor in booking services for our itineration and the completion of our new budget.
5.       Friends for our four kids—Hannah (15), Colton (13), Will (7), and Abi (5). Also that they’re transition into public school (Kings) would go smoothly. May the Lord give them kind and considerate teachers.
6.       Wisdom regarding our auto situation and over all the financial decisions that we have to make to live here for a year. It’s difficult figuring out what justifies an expense.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

It's a snack cracker

I snapped this picture while driving through Lima. "Kraps" is a snack cracker. I think they were going for something that sounds like "crisp" or "crackle." Even though everyone in the marketing department studied English in High School, no one took a class in street lingo. So, the next time you're on your way to a party and someone says, "I brought the cheese." You can say, "Great, because I got the ..." Well, maybe you should just say, "...snack crackers."
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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Home ... for a time

From Bill:

We returned to the U.S. two weeks ago. We're here to share the adventure of God's glorious calling with the individuals and churches that have partnered with us. The transition back has been good overall. The weather is very hot, near 100. Our A/C is out of commission. Nonetheless, I love the heat. I like taking a cold shower before going to bed and feeling the night air blown in by a window fan--it feels like camping!

We've moved back into our old home. We rented it to a family while we were gone. Before we left for Peru, I asked them how long they wanted to rent it and they said, "Until you get back." It is another demonstration of how God takes care of so many things. Coming back to our old house and the friends in the neighborhood has been a huge blessing. We're very grateful that we don't have to start over from scratch. Nonetheless, in our time away, the house has aged and so have my kids. This created the need to freshen things up considerably. When we left, Abi was sleeping in a crib in our room. At the age of 5, she's a bit big for that. We needed another bedroom. As such, We hired a contractor to convert the laundry room into a bedroom and to put a shower into the half bath. That work is still being completed. The unfinished part of that work and the fact that we have no furniture has left us a little bit in limbo, but each day we're closer to completion. There's something fulfilling about working on your house in the summer. I remember in our early years of marriage, I would take a week off in the summer to repair/paint the old house we lived in. It was always a fun time of teamwork for Lena and I. This project has brought back those memories.

It's been great seeing our families and enjoying summer. I inherited by father's old grill. It's a Weber gas model with a porcelain grate. It's been in storage for 4 years but still works great. We've grilled some mighty tasty burgers--at 10:00 PM. The time change and late sunsets have totally confused our bodies. In Peru, the sun sets before 6:00 pm (which is a sign that it's time to eat dinner). Here, the sun does not set until 9:30! Abi keeps protesting, "How can it be bed time ... it's still light out?!"

Do we love being home? Yes. Do we miss Peru? Yes. This aspect of the transition is like the time change and the late sunset. It confuses the emotions. It feels great to be back, but always with the knowledge and hope  that we're returning to Peru. We have a purpose that is greater than enjoying the beauty and warmth of hom. Ohio is far cleaner and more beautiful than Peru, but I can't hold it too tightly. I know that we are here to advance the calling the Lord has given us for Peru. Knowing that enables me to both enjoy my time here and also to carry the hope of what God is going to do in and through us when we return to the land of our calling.