(An unedited journal entry by Steve follows… Thanks for your graceJ)
Well we are flying over Africa. All things considered it has been as easy as possible flight. The girls have stayed healthy, in as good as can be spirits, and maintaining the course. We do have 1 hours and 23 minutes left so anything can happen. So ready to be back “home” and yet feel unusually anxious. It is such a different life here that it is hard to switch gears. I sense God delivering us this far. I know he will carry us through it all.
Our time in America has been really full. Full in experiences and experiences that made us full (both figuratively and literallyJ) We went around the table our last dinner in Bellevue with Stephanie’s parents recounting some of our favorite highlights. It was amazing all that we did. Among the favorites was the grandparent trips (each child gets some one on one time with their grandparents), going to California for my parents 50th anniversary and the kids spending time with the cousins. We spend some sweet time with my cousins in Whidbey Island, and grandparents and cousins over Christmas. We went to the Aquarium, Science Center. We saw enchanted in 3-D which was great, saw the Hawks rumble over the Saints, enjoyed my 40th birthday with some great time with friends and family.
It was full with meetings with our churches and meetings with friends. And yet, even with an extra week for our Rhodas’ surgery (she is fully recovered by the way… Thanks), we still didn’t get to see everyone we wanted to. (sorry if you were one of those want-to’s)
So many great times… Thank you to all for making our home time especially sweet.
As for ministry, I had the chance to preach three times at different churches, shared our ministry multiple other times. I officiated a wonderful wedding, spoke to over 100 high schoolers at a winter camp and also to a bunch of students in Bellingham. And now I am sitting here, praying, thinking, trying to get my head around my reality for the next year which will be here in just an hour. I feel wholly unprepared because my last few weeks I was moving at a very unreflective pace. And all that I have been gorging myself out on all that home is; food, sports, family, friends and church are absenter here. Here? Poverty. Struggle. Challenges. Needs. Pain. This is our lot. It wasn’t my past 2 months. How do you reengage? How do you prepare yourself to hear about all that happened the past two months while I was gone? I am not sure. I need to get my game face on. Part of that will be routine. Getting back to a normal pace of life. Getting up early for time in the word. Family devotions.
Regardless, thanks for letting me ponder a bit, and starting that reflective preparation now… Had a nice time of prayer around 3 in the morning J Dozing and praying and sleeping and rejoicing. We get off the plane and make it through customs, pick up our 20+ bags, hopefully, and away we go. The sun is just coming up on the horizon. A new day has begun whether my body and/or spirit is ready for it or not.
On my last day in America, yesterday, I think… I had a great day sharing my faith with two different people. One a banker, who shared his story while counting my money and the other, and a Jewish man who I sat next to at a restaurant. They were very spirit-directed encounters which continued to confirm to me that that you don’t need to go to Africa to be a missionary. It is right in our back yard.
I love my wife. She is such an amazing woman. Seriously, I couldn’t be here without her. Helper. Lover. Friend. And my kids… They are troopers.
(Well, a tired/busy/unpacking four days later, we are seeing people and getting ourselves organized… School for the girls and for me starts tomorrow… More adventures to follow! Thanks for your prayers!)