Saturday, January 5, 2013

More change & transition

In case you haven't heard the news flash...we are moving back to the states in May. Yes, you are correct in thinking that we were just going to go home for a "visit" and then return to Bolivia to continue serving. Well, that's what we thought too. We were perfectly prepared to stay here in Bolivia for as long as we felt we needed to be. Apparently that time is shorter than we thought. Our original minimum commitment was 2 years. That 2 year mark will be March 31. Lowell and I began praying about what God would have us do once our minimum commitment was up. He felt a very strong pull to move back to the states for some reason. I wasn't surprised or shocked or angry. I came here with a very open mind to stay long term or return once our time was done. However, once we really began thinking about it and praying about it and talking it over, the thought of leaving this place we've called home for almost 2 years, the thought of moving back to the states, the thought that our "time here might be over"....was very overwhelming for me. I prayed, I cried, I journaled, I read God's word. It started to become clear to me, too, in my heart of hearts, that we were being asked to go "home".

And then Lowell was offered a job. Wow. Just like that?! Yes, we really felt like that was the deal that sealed it. The confirmation, if you will, that we were indeed to move back. It all seems so crazy to me. That we did all this for only 2 years!? And boy, has it flown. I mean, I know we still have the last 4 months and I so do not want to discount those, but man...when a journey like this enters a new season/stage, where you see the end in sight, you just start having thoughts like this: "What have we accomplished while here?"; "Did we do any good?"; "What did we learn/what did our kids learn?" "Did we spend our time well and were we good stewards of the money our supporters gave us?"; "How's my spanish after 2 years...??", etc, etc, etc...!!!! You know, for some of those questions rolling around in my head, only God knows the answer. And I just have to accept that. I have to trust that those seeds that he allowed us to plant (and are GOING to plant in the next 4 months!!!) will grow into fruition and that He was gracious enough to use us for His glory and to further His kingdom here.

Please be clear that we were in NO WAY looking for an "out" in this journey. We have loved every crazy, wild, hard, rough and tough moment. We love being here and we love Bolivia, especially the people. Oh, the people. Ok. I can't go there. Tears welling up. Yes, it has been a challenging journey, but isn't life hard no matter where you are on this planet? I will honestly say that it has been the most difficult on our kids. They are mighty troopers. They are my heroes. We chose to do this crazy mission right smack dab in the middle of the boys' pre-teen/teen years. I won't lie and say that their hearts and emotional state didn't have some significant influence on our decision. It was very hard on Olivia more in the very beginning, but now I really think she loves it here and will be very sad to go. Her age (4 when we left) was a better time to go if you're going to go, although I think much older than that and it gets really tough.

Another thought I'd like to share is that Lowell and I both feel very strongly that just because this phase or stage of our mission journey is ending soon, that does not mean that we are "done". We plan to forever be involved in missions, whatever that may look like. We look forward to being able to pray for and support our local church here, the many missionaries that have become dear friends to us, and possibly plan and lead short term teams down!

Anyway, we had a great visit with Lowell's parents while they were here! We were able to travel to a city named Sucre which is my favorite city in Bolivia (so far!). We took tons of photos! I am working on putting them all into my flickr account, so I will link to that from here.


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