We aren’t really home. I’ve mentioned that. But we do have a lot of people who have taken care of us so far on our home assignment journey.
- We always had a place to stay, whether an entire house or one bedroom or in little Bear’s case a laundry room or kitchen!
- We enjoyed meals in homes, meals in restaurants and meals in parks.
- We enjoyed fresh produce from backyard gardens and farmer’s markets.
- Little Bear received clothes and toys.
- I received much needed maternity clothes!
- We’ve made many new friends and caught up with old ones.
- People have given of precious time and finances.
- Church members have organized lunches, dinners, get togethers, lady’s nights, baby showers and more.
- Pastors have given up their Sunday sermon time.
We have received an outpouring of love from our community that spans from Florida to North Carolina to Michigan to Minnesota and to Washington State, with so many states in between. Thank you. We appreciate you. We appreciate your sacrifice. We appreciate your time. We appreciate your friendship!
A few weeks ago, the Sudanese Principal of Gideon Theological College (GTC), Philip, passed away unexpectedly. Our missionary friends working at the college wanted to attend the funeral but lacked a vehicle to carry them to the small village near Doro where Philip’s funeral would take place.
So our regional director and I purchased a 55 gallon drum of diesel for $600 (which, believe it or not, is cheaper than buying it from the local fuelers). We siphoned fuel into our Toyota Landcruiser tanks, installed our new SIM stickers on the doors and hoisted the SIM flag onto a bamboo pole lashed to the bullbar. These last two items would aid us through police check points without any hassles.
Monday morning we departed Malakal after filing a travel permit for our trip. A little over 3 hours later we pulled into Melut and the GTC compound. After grabbing a quick bite to eat, we loaded luggage and camping gear on the roof rack and piled into the truck. Nine adults and 6 kids filled the bench seats on both sides of the back. Nearly 4 very bumpy hours later we pulled into the SIM Doro compound welcomed by a large feast prepared by our teammates.
Tuesday morning we made the short drive to the village of Dangji. We greeted Philip’s widow and family before joining the massive group of people assembled for the memorial service. The service started around 11 continuing for 6 hours, alternating between speeches (in Arabic) and hymns (in Arabic and Mabaan).
Philip’s testimony is amazing. He learned English from SIM missionaries years ago, went on to get a BA and a Masters, studied abroad only to come back to teach and train his own people to be pastors. Although I could only understand bits and pieces, it is obvious this man impacted many, especially if the 1,425 people in attendance at his service is any indication.
I’m sure the words “well done good and faithful servant” echoed throughout heaven when he was called from here to his permanent home.
Nigeria, Ghana, America, Ivory Coast, Kenya, South Sudan…
“You’re from… Where?” This is a hard question to answer growing up as a missionary kid. Born in one country, mission boarding school in another, college in the US, and now living and working as a missionary in yet another country.
My wife and I are on home assignment and are traveling across the country (from Florida to Washington State) visiting many friends, supporters and churches, sharing about what we have done and where the Lord is leading us. As we drove though the Midwest last week, Michelle exclaimed, “This is more corn than I’ve ever seen in my life!” Her fascination with electricity generating windmills that now dot the fields was also entertaining to see. She is obviously far from home.
As we drove along I reflected on how this sort of feels like home. We are staying in a small town of about four and a half thousand people where my family lived while on home assignments. I also spent a few Christmases and summers here with extended family members during college. My parents live here and I have quite a few friends in the area. The familiarity makes this place kind of feel like home but it’s not where I’m from.
As a missionary, calling one place home is difficult. But for me that makes it easier to remember that my real home is in heaven and that all of us are “just passing through”.
Skyline seen reflected in “The Bean”
Peace – in Romanian
Amidst many hugs, we sadly take our leave of Chicago. Its not the city we will miss, although the architecture and skyline view are beautiful. Rather it’s the people we came in contact with while there.
Our hosts are friends we met and served with in Kenya. They are proudly Romanian and enjoy a rich cultural heritage. We were welcomed into their community of friends, many of whom are also Romanian. Some might notice all our differences; our traditions, our foods, our language even how we look.
But because of our commonality in Christ what matters most is the same.
Threaded through all our conversations was a love of Christ and a desire to spread His name and glory. We talked about things that mattered. We laughed and joked. We ate! Still, Christ was always evident.
When our focus is right our differences fade.
We shared what the Lord is doing through us with the Logos Baptist Ministries and were overwhelmingly blessed by their outpouring of love! We could tell you individual stories yet they wish to remain anonymous. Instead we will leave a tribute to them here, knowing that their ultimate reward is in heaven.
On the road again. Stopping for a night. Dinner. Breakfast with a friend. On the road again. Training. On the road again. Speaking in church. Meeting new people. On the road again.
Our cross country trip is well underway and although loads of fun, it is hard finding time to rest.
Generally that means I take naps while The Boy drives.
But rest isn’t always about sleep for me. Sometimes I just need a quiet place to read or relax; away from the demands of conversation and meeting new people. Don’t get me wrong; I LOVE spending time with others but in the end I’m still a bit of an introvert.
So when we finally arrived in Indiana it was a sweet retreat! We stayed with a woman who uses her home to bless those that need a place of rest. Located a bit in the countryside it was quiet, comfortable and relaxing. Each day I enjoyed a delicious cup of coffee and unrushed time in Scripture.
Despite only staying two nights it was enough to rejuvenate my soul and allow me to enjoy the next steps of our journey!