I am sitting here on another beautiful morning in Zambia, watching the sun rise in the east, just outside my bedroom window. The sky is clear. It has been months since I have seen rain. The trees are waving in the gentle breeze. I am in shorts. The day is already warm. It has been almost two years since I have been in America.
The months have gone by quickly and life has carried us down the river of life. There have been some gentle parts and some turbulent parts. We have seen some of the most beautiful scenery possible and have also seen some pretty hard things as well. Life doesn’t normally have separated portions allotted to it so you can evaluate therein. We don’t normally live one year here or two years there . Our children do. High School, college, peace core, grad school. But when you get a job, you don’t really have seasons, because it all flows together. But, as a missionary, you are able to reflect on seasons, and it can be helpful, to reflect, and really think through what we did and didn’t do. Our first season was only 9 months. We came home and had a baby. And then we came back for two more years. Stephanie and I were just talking how we are so thankful that we came back. It has been such a different experience, a fuller experience, a harder and not as a hard experience, a deepening experience, a learning experience.
But how do you fully explain two years in two minutes or two hours or two days? That is the challenge that lies before us. How do we explain all that we have done and learned and experienced and become during these two years in the two + months that we are going to be home? I am not sure we can. And if we could, would people care? Perhaps, we can give a glimpse during a sermon, or a short video or a three minute allotment during a church service. But hopefully you will be patient to listen to our hearts, to realize that some things just can’t be explained, and other things that can won’t make any sense. And in us, a new worldview and different values and conflicted convictions have been refined and defined in our hearts.
Our worlds have been shifted, daily, and yet we are still us, the same people you know and love. We long to return to what we know and yet we know that when we are in the know, we won’t feel at home. We will want to forget the hard that we remember and yet we will find that is the hard that we miss the most. We will want to forget the pain that exists and yet we will judge everything by the pain that we know exists. So how can you help us? Ask good questions. Be patient to listen when you don’t understand and persevere when you feel uncomfortable and don’t let the guilt you feel from the things you don’t experience deter you from really engaging. Things are not always what they seem, even to us. We can’t wait to see you all