We purchased our plane tickets this past week and arrive in Paraguay on July 8. Even though we have known for months of this impending move, this step seems somehow more significant. There is more of a finality when you have tickets in hand.
WE ARE EXCITED AND READY! We are returning to our new homeland less than a year since our vision trip last July. The reality of this still amazes me. We knew that it was an urgent call but God, in his lavish abundance, connected all the dots to help us return in a timely manner.
He did so by providing a team of support - both prayer warriors and financial partners - who are sacrificing greatly so God's name can be proclaimed throughout the Kingdom. We have been utterly blown away by God's people - their generosity, friendship and true partnership.
God has also been preparing our hearts and minds through training. We travel one last time in April to SIM headquarters in Charlotte, NC for our third and final week long preparation. We have also been reading through our stack of books and taking seminary courses to prepare for this career change. Now it's time to put this training into practice and see what these newbie missionaries got. Cue Rocky music. Okay, I went too far!
But leaving means saying goodbye. It means looking the people we love most in the eye and telling them we will see them in 28 months. This is a daunting task when you have been blessed by a community that cares for you unconditionally and loves you completely.
It means leaving the familiar for the unknown. We have lived in Pella (which means City of Refuge for a reason) for over 20 years. We will leave this movie set of a town and transition to a town of 2 million people - very few of whom speak English.
Finally and most importantly, it means putting the call into practice. It is one thing to say you're going, but quite another to live it daily.
Part of me wants to skip the goodbyes altogether. After all, I am by nature an emotional woman and as a result, an ugly crier. You heard that correctly - don't you dare bring cameras to our farewells because you will end up with one unpleasant shot on your phone and another etched in your memory! Spare yourself (and me) the agony!
Yet, I know the goodbyes are necessary and give purpose to the call. We are being loved on one last time by the people that raised us, prayed for us, listened to us, encouraged us, and now are partnering with us. These are the people who played a significant role in our story and how we got to this place. Giving up this opportunity would rob us of the accompanying joy.
Will you please pray for us in this bittersweet state that the excitement we feel to go serve would outweigh the heaviness of the goodbyes?
Will you pray that we say goodbye well to our loved ones?
Finally, would you pray in the busyness of these last few months, that we wouldn't miss out on how God is moving?