Sunday, June 12, 2016

Furlough Prep Part 1: The 5 W's

Exactly 6 months from today, we leave this place we call home and start our journey back to a place that still, in some ways, feels like home. So, since we’ve never done a furlough before, I thought I’d start a series of entries over the next few months as we prep for this transition, what we’re thinking, how it’s going etc. Today’s post addresses the 5 W’s: who, what, when, where and why.

WHO: The Brew Crew 5: two parents who are going back to their home country and feel semi-comfortable there. The oldest who remembers some of his younger years there. The middle child that has vague memories of the US, but thinks fondly of it. And…the youngest child who has lived here longer than she lived in the US. She’s looking at this whole process like a vacation, not going “home”. 

Who else does this involve? YOU! Our family, friends and those who have partnered with us financially and prayerfully.

WHAT: What is furlough or home assignment? Furlough is a period of time that we go back to our home home country, reconnect with all of the WHO mentioned above, plus get the necessary training to return for more service overseas.

WHEN: When are we coming?? Right now, our plans aren’t set in stone. We have our flight out of here booked for December 12, but after that, it’s still very much unknown. We’ll probably arrive stateside later that same week. Lord willing we will be there for around 13 months.


WHERE: Well….this too is still kind of up in the air. Lord willing, we’ll live in Texas near our families. We will spend quite a bit of time traveling to connect with all of those in our WHO. Jason will also need to go several different places for training. Our schedule isn’t firmed up and may not be for quite awhile. The planner in me LOVES to know exactly when we’re doing certain things, but I’ve had to realise not everyone functions like that, so flexibility is the name of the game…or at least my game that I don’t necessarily like to play.

WHY: As I mentioned in the “WHO”, furlough is a time where we can see many, if not all, of the people that love and partner with us. It’s a time where we can personally say “THANK YOU” for sticking with us over these last few years, hug your necks and find out how you’re doing. Our ministry budget has increased so we’ll also be looking for opportunities to share with new people what we’re doing and how they can be a part of supporting the work of Bible translation in PNG.

Furlough will also be a time for Jason to get recurrent flight training of various kinds so he can come back prepared for the next term here. At this point, because of staffing changes, I’m not sure what my assignment will be once we return in 2018. This could and probably will change between now and the time we leave so I might need further training depending on my assignment. This will also be a time where we can hopefully rest and get a break from the many different stresses we face while living overseas.

During this time we’ll need to acclimate our kids to their passport country. The US is a foreign place to them and the culture very different than the one they’re currently living in. We’ll tread the dicey waters of reverse culture shock (a separate post is coming on that!) We hope to see some US landmarks and learn some US and state history over the course of the next year.

And as a side note: We’ll also need to make sure we eat plenty of ice cream those 13 months. Real ice cream that’s made with milk and not unidentifiable acronyms and numbers. It’s just one of the many things we’re looking forward to in the months to come!

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