3rd Time’s a Charm

You’re going through SIMCo again? Isn’t this your third time?” multiple people have asked.

I didn’t fail the first 2 times. This time it’s my wife’s fault!

Because she is joining SIM for the first time we’re required to attend as a couple. Now I’m sitting through yet another round of orientation classes and am finally getting all the right answers!

A few of us who chose to go hiking during free time.

The truth is I am learning many new things and am able to encourage others who might be feeling overwhelmed. Our time is well spent and we’re enjoying getting to know the 30 families also in the process of SIM training, several whom will be serving with us in South Sudan!

Some of our classes and meetings include:

  • Software and computer programs useful on the field
  • Financial specifics, including budgets and retirement plans
  • Physical, mental and spiritual health guidelines
  • Personality differences and how to live well within community

Even though I have been through the program 3 times now (1st as a short-termer, 2nd as a long-termer and now as a married man), I am picking up helpful tips and new information that will help me both on and off the field. We all need to learn how to do our jobs better and constantly be looking for better programs and ways of doing things.

Plastic Chairs cont…

Tent (or maybe mud hut) living. NOT on my bucket list. 

Notice the BLUE plastic chair!

Welcome to South Sudan! Since I have such a handy husband and building houses IS on HIS to do list, I began to dream of the place he would build us. I was sure we would not be living in a tent for long before we could move into a beautiful mansion! He soon burst that bubble with his talk of Plastic Chairs.

We have to furnish our house (Wait…not even a house…our TENT?!) with PLASTIC CHAIRS? Those just don’t belong.

Back this up just a little.

His house remained just that…a house. There was a world map taped to the wall. His furniture did not match. He didn’t have extra pillows on the bed much less a bedspread. The curtains didn’t match or even fit all the windows properly. Obviously he’s not going to be bothered.

But me?

My house in Kenya turned into a Home just a few short weeks after I moved in. I painted and put pictures on the wall. I bought furniture and dishes. I searched the markets for curtains and bought comforters with matching pillows.

Now everything we own will have to be flown in, paid for by weight and that is expensive. I have to admit a battle went on in my mind and in my heart. I like my space. I like to make it personal, comfortable, beautiful even. I need a place to relax, unwind and get away.

How can I do that living in a tent?
How am I going to make it a home?

The Lord has been working on me. I am very excited about this new adventure and opportunity. But I won’t pretend the adjustment is going to be easy.

Through it all my hope and prayer is that LOVE would permeate whatever “house” we have to live in; that love would turn it into a home; that when friends, co-workers, villagers, Sudanese come to visit they won’t even notice the chairs, plastic or not, because they can literally feel the love of Christ.

Plastic Chairs and Tents

South Sudan.

My excitement levels are hard to contain knowing that our decision is made!

Early this year our director asked us to consider a placement in South Sudan. Thrilled about the impact we could have in an area steadily growing with refugees, I dreamed of building relationships through gardening, raising chickens and learning how to cook on a charcoal oven. My dreams were straight out of Little House on the Prairie. What an adventure!

But should we leave behind our positions in Kenya? Where did God want us? We weren’t sure. My excitement waned.

So we prayed. Read Scripture.

Sought advice. And prayed.

Met with our directors. And prayed some more.

Scripture was the most impactful advice given; Colossians 3:15 “Let the peace of God reign in your hearts…” We feel that peace in our decision to go to South Sudan.

Then…I heard about the plastic chairs.