The count-down is on! Our official departure date has been set and we’ll be headed to Kenya on July 12, 2012. It’s amazing how much more real this seems now that there is a date. So much to do, and seemingly not enough time to do it. (We do need to be 100% supported one month prior to this date before AIM will release us, but we are anticipating that will happen!)
And so we’re living the life of an almost-missionary. What to take, what to store, what to sell, what to toss. Everything we own has a decision attached to it. We have collected many things over our 7+ years of marriage, as families tend to do, and having three children certainly adds to the amount of stuff. Sure, things are needed. Our kids need clothes for winter and summer seasons here, in different sizes as they grow so quickly. But what about the piles of things in my attic that I haven’t touched in years? Why are we holding onto things that have been in the attic since we moved into our house three years ago? Does anyone else have that kind of stuff? Fortunately, de-cluttering makes me happy and I’ll happily pass along these attic dwellers. What I want to learn through this process is how can our stuff and our lifestyle be honoring to Him and not just pleasing to ourselves. Are we making the most of what we have for His Kingdom or are we collecting things because we can and because it makes us feel valuable? I have a lot more to learn in this area, but I’m grateful He’s giving me the chance to evaluate my belongings and my heart attitude.
One of the biggest decisions we have is about one of the biggest items we have. Our house. 550 Shenango is officially on the market. We put a sign out front to try to sell it by owner a few weeks ago. For those in the Beaver County area, spread the word! We decided to sell instead of trying to find renters for a few reasons. It has been a great house for us and, like we keep telling people that have looked at it, if we weren’t moving to Africa, we’d probably tuck in here a lot longer. We have great neighbors, a nice backyard, a log cabin sandbox (Dan’s pride and joy), not to mention hours and days and weeks that we’ve poured into updating it! We are quite fond of this house on Shenango. Renting our home seems so unpredictable and managing it from Kenya doesn’t seem like something we should try to tackle. But we’ll be sad to see it go! We have lots of great memories here and it’s the only home our kids have ever known. We’ve spent time in prayer about it and we feel this is the best option for us right now.
Also at the forefront of our minds are thoughts of “this is the last time we will _____________.” This is easily the toughest part of this journey we’re on. This was the last Thanksgiving & Christmas we will spend with family for at least a couple years (unless, of course, we have visitors). We went to our last New Year’s Eve party with friends we’ve grown close to. There will be a last day of school at Beaver Falls for Dan, a last MOPS meeting for Courtney, a last Sunday School class for Ethan, a last youth group event, a last worship service with our church family, final visits with friends, goodbyes with family. Lots of lasts.
Not that these things will be forever lost or will never happen again, but it’s hard not to think about the people we’ll be missing dearly when we’re there. It’s hard to ignore or pretend as if life won’t be very different in a ton of ways. Counting the ways God has blessed our marriage, our family, our relationships, our lives is nearly impossible – realizing how much of that will change can be a hard thing to swallow. We would appreciate your prayers for us in this way, if you feel led. In one sense, two years is a drop in the bucket, hardly worth noting over an entire lifespan. In another very real sense, it’s a long time – something not to be taken lightly.
Pray that we would have an eternal perspective. Help us to remember like Paul that this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen (2Cor 4:17-18). For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. That in All things, Blessed be the Name of the Lord.