We're 90 days from leaving PNG and heading out on our first furlough.
The tickets are purchased.
Our stay at the Guesthouse on our Center is booked. We'll stay there a couple of nights before we leave so we can clean the house and wash everything without having to also live in it at the same time. We'll rely on the generosity of our friends hospitality for our last meals.
The reality is closing in that our first 4 year term is coming to an end.
I've gone back and forth about what to write this month about our furlough preparations. There are all the logistics of setting up life in the U.S. for a year (a house, a car etc.). There are the gory details of packing up our things here and getting the house ready for renters while we're away. There are ALL the questions of what it's going to be like in the U.S., where we'll live, who we'll see, what we'll do...what we'll eat besides bacon and ice cream :)
And then?? There are ALL the emotions.
My oh my.
We are emotional creatures. With two girls and a teenager, our house is full of emotion and we have our fair share of weekly, more often than not, daily, tears. God uniquely designed us to love, to hurt, to feel sadness but also undeniable times of joy. While emotions can be good, they're also tricky because they're unreliable and unsteady. If we're not careful our emotions can dictate our decisions and our thinking, instead of the concrete truth from the Word.
Right now we're entering an emotional stage of this transition that I don't think will leave any time soon. If you had asked me before I left the U.S. what I was most worried about, hands down it would have been how my kids were going to adjust living here. But God, in His goodness, has overwhelmed us with how well all three have thrived. They've put down roots. They're in a routine with school and classes, they have solid friends, they even have a dog they love. It's a daunting prospect to think about the unknown that we're walking into. They're worried, fearful and if we're all honest, apprehensive about what next year will look like. Change, even necessary change, is hard.
We dialogue openly, trying to answer as many of the questions as we can. The truth is though, we don't know what today holds, let alone next year in a place that isn't as known to us as it used to be. Places change, people change...we've changed. What we do know, the Truth we run to, is that we trust and serve a God who doesn't change. The same consistent God that called us here is the same good God that has guided us across the vast ocean to a beautiful country with beautiful people that desperately need to hear about His love for them. He will never leave us or forsake us.
This journey has been stretching, eye opening and yes, harder than I ever could have imagined, but He's walked with us every step of the way. Through all the tears, the heartache, the discovery, fun and laughter of this term...He has been the one true constant in our ever-changing lives and we have to keep clinging to Him.
If you think of us in the next 90 days, pray that we can manage our emotional selves. Pray that we can articulate our frustrations, our fears and ALL the excitement we have for the journey ahead.