Sunday, November 25, 2012

Loving It

Darkness is falling around this little house we are occupying for these weeks. The electricity is not back on, so the house slips into the inkiness. Music pours out of the i-pod and the $5 speakers we bought on a whim.   We all squeal with delight as kAkA brings an old fashioned lantern and hangs it on the tree outside the kitchen window.  He probably thinks we are the oddest people.  The three candles I could find in the house are lit on the island.  They illminate the potatoes I peel for supper.
A.P. bounces Baby Zar on his knee as he helps Little t put together a puzzle.  They both wear headlights. They giggle together about a piece that found it’s home before resuming their conversation.  The very serious matter of peeing in the toilet and ‘big boy unnies’ and a new bike are at hand.  A.P. says we will go broke if we continue to buy diapers in this land, so a bike (as a reward for potty training) would be cheaper in the long run.

Suddenly the bulb on the outside wall flicks on – a signal of restored power, but the house continues to be enveloped in darkeness. In the words of A.P. ‘this isn’t our first rodeo', so when the power went off last night we turned all of the lights off before going to bed.  The sweetness of returning power is lessened when the glare of lights left on wakes you up in the middle of the night!

I reach for the switch and then stop. My little family…my world…cozy and happy together by candelight. Why invade on this memory with a gleaming bulb?  So I return to my potatoes with a smile plastered across my face. 

The sweetness of the momet is not lost of me and I mentally take note of it.  I want to savor it for the hard days, the heartbreaking days, the insane days. But in the moment, the joy that threatens to burst through is so so good! 

I am so humbled by the blessing of the Father. Here I am; living my dream of life in a foreign land, a good man to lead me and babies to love. It just doesn’t get any better than that. 

***Maybe this incident feels especially special given the uncertainty of what is next for us and the grieving we are doing over what we are being asked to let go of in these days. I have tried to write about this, but have failed until now.  Here is a good post A.P. wrote about it:***

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Life Is Good

Life is good. The end. 

I was half tempted to just write that and call it a blog post, but I know it won’t suffice. Once again, I sit here trying to sum up many weeks and tons of transitions into one post and it is overwhelming.  Here is a brief rundown to bring you up to speed.

We made the journey to this side of the world just over two weeks ago.  It went better than we expected, I think. The goodbyes are never easy. While they are hard with kids, they are also somewhat easier because a crying baby and a rambunctious toddler disract me from the tears that are always dangerously close to falling if I think about it too much. 

The kids did great on the trip.  Our layovers were short and sweet…me vowing the whole time that I will never travel with this much junk again.  But then again, the next time I travel, I know my mantra will be the same.  Little t was at a fantastic age for traveling. He was just old enough to listen and understand things like ‘please don’t get out of your chair and bolt down the aisle of the plane when it is taking off’ and ‘don’t kick the seat in front of you’. He aggravated us very little and other people only a few times and really it wasn’t even his fault (but he is my son and it never is, right?!?). Baby Zar did well also. The hard work we had put into sleep training paid off after the flights, but on the flights, she was not a happy camper when she had to be held to sleep. We survived in the end. 

We had a night in Dubai that was great. Manda had never been to Dubai, so we had to take advantage of the time and show her around. We did a little shopping/sightseeing. We then called it a night…in which we were all up and tired to the bone.

The next morning, we got to the airport for our flight feeling like a million bucks.  Seriously, that night of semi-sleep was priceless.  Some of our co-travellers had not gotten that rest and were not thrilled to be flying with our children but we all survived in the end. 

K-town was busy and dusty and dirty and beautiful as always. We stayed with good friends who have boys who are 4 and 2 (who Little t loves) and a little girl 3 days younger than Baby Zar (we had the same due date).  It was good to connect with friends and teammates in that city.

It was also a heartbreaking time because more information came to the surface about the state of things in M-ville and it isn’t good. The troop pullout this summer has been a wildcard that we have been nervously awaiting for a while. When it happened, the tenous security balance teetered out of control.  A large suicide bombing, some assassinations, the kidnapping of some NGO workers, and infighting all came to a head in the span of 2 months. It left our leadership team seriously re-evaluating the place of our NGO in that setting and their first concern were families in that region.  In a meeting with leaders they very seriously addressed their concern for sending us back.  We acknowledged their concern as our hearts were breaking.  We have come to love that place and it’s people more and more each day.  We were so excited to return and dive into relationships again. We left the meetings and K-town with heavy hearts and no clarity or answers.  Since then we have been informed that we will not be able to return to M-ville for the next two years. We are no closer to answers as to what that means for our next steps. Please pr.ay for this with us.

At this point, I sit in the kitchen of a house that has housed people in our organization for years.  We followed through with our plan to come to the North (enduring a terrible experience in the airport in K-town…but every experience there is terrible so if I wrote about it again, It would just be old news to you). Yesterday I heard tales of people (real life heroes of ours) who have lived in this house through the last dozen years.  I met a sweet local couple who grew up in Lal and worked with Grandma Martha there years ago. 

In the midst of all of the unknowns, I am thankful once again to be a part of this organization that is leaving such a legacy of love and service in this land. 

We honestly do not know what tomorrow holds.  Our plan to be in this house for two months and then return to M-ville is on hold (the family we were so desperately hoping would join us has backed out).  Even if security improves, they will not let us return right now. We are exploring other options and enjoying life for what it is right now – time with our kids, time with Manda, getting to know the chAwkidars, enjoying having friends close. Life is good. 

I have been reading the book Jesus Calling and I swear she wrote the entries in the last two weeks just for us.  God is so good to bring reminders of His plan in such beautiful ways.  We will keep you posted on what that looks like in coming days!  These verses have meant a lot to us during this time:

“The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.”  John 8:29

“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalms 37:4