The chaos has set in.  With just a week left until our intended departure date, the goodbyes and “Oh, but I’ll see you again right?”-s have begun.  The calendar has filled up with farewell parties, family dinners and prayer send-offs as more and more of our thoughts turn toward the life God has called us to overseas.

Every conversation, every place, and experience has become twinged with Holland and next week’s plane ride.  “I wonder if this is the last time” has turned to “That was the last time I…”, while “How do we fit all this into this room?” at my parents house has turned to “How do we fit all this into six pieces of luggage?”  Each change brings its own dilemma I suppose, and we’ll just keep taking it one step at a time.

We need your prayers now more than ever as our requests turn to the particulars of transition and travel.

Sometimes It Gets You

October 23, 2008

Sometimes, at the most random of moments, I’ll find myself having these out-of-body this-may-be-the-last-time-I-_______ experiences.  Just the other night I was sitting at the end of the table at Vancouver Pizza Co. enjoying some pizza with the fam, when it hit me–“This could be the last time we do this before we leave…”  Not that it being the last time is bad, I guess.  Its more that it is weird.  

 Anyway, through the night I continued to replay the experience, rehearsing it from different people’s perspectives.  How would I have experienced that dinner in someone else’s, more stationary shoes?  Would I have interacted with people differently?  What things would I have said differently or not at all?  As I continued to mull things over, I got to thinking: What if I approached all of life like that?  I’m not just talking about the live-like-its your-last-day sort of stuff.  Specifically I mean, how would I live life differently if I knew today was the last time I would see a homeless person?  Or a paralyzed person?  Or someone being victimized by any of the many broken system in this broken world?  

Would their hurt effect me differently?  Would I say anything different to them?  Would I feel quite so threatened by their pain as I normally do? 

Funny the things moving around the world makes you think…

More Questions…

October 20, 2008

As our departure date approaches–and no we don’t have an exact date yet, though we know it is getting closer–the questions continue to abound.  One of the nagging questions I’ve been pondering, is just how far out should a person buy plane tickets for?  A week?  A month?  And, should those tickets be regular fare tickets or should we try for less dependable though cheaper standby tickets through a friend? 

At this point Kate and I have decided that our responsibility is to be ready to leave when God does finally give us the green light.  To that end we’re continuing to invite people on to our support team, as we begin gathering our things together this week for the big move–whenever it finally shakes out to be.  

Sometimes the uncertainty gets to us, and often times we’re riding a pretty wild emotional rollercoaster.  In the midst of it all, with as little as two and a half weeks to go (should God provide that way), we’ll just keep on taking it one step at a time.

Reflection From Colorado

October 1, 2008

As our training continues here in Littleton Colorado, I wanted to pass on one of the topics I thought really describes the experience we have been in and will continue to walk through.  If you’ve ever wondered, “What is it like for a missionary to leave?”  I think these five areas sum up our current experience pretty well: 

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Kate listening to one of our instructors.

Phase I – Involvement:

At this point you are still known by people around you.  You are comfortable and you know where things are and belong.  

Phase II – Leaving:

Moving out of regular life, the phase of Leaving includes eerythign that happens around and to you in preparation of leaving.  This that period when you begin to unplug, when life “at home” starts going on without you.  As you continue to prepare to leave, your experience of people, events and surroundings changes as recognition of “lasts” (“This may be my last Christmas in Vancouver,” “This may be the last time I see ______”, etc.) begins to color your thinking, further heightening your awareness that you no longer fit your surroundings.   Slowly (or not so slowly), you and those around you seem to unplug, in preparation for the coming goodbye.  (This phase is probably where we are right now)

Phase III – Chaos:

Split down the middle, this phase lives up to its name in different ways on both sides of the ocean.  Before you leave Chaos sets in as the people around you realize that you’re leaving and suddenly find the drive to say goodbye, have lunch, dinner, brunch, afternoon tea, elvensies, and any other thing they can think of to try to get some together time before you say the big Goodbye.  At the same time life stateside becomes even more hectic as those final holdouts of familiarity are forced to die in the mad dash towards the airplane.  

On the other side of the ocean the Chaos continues as you remain totally unsettled, having forfeited all of the customary familiarities of your former home.  Not only do you not know how to get around in your new surroundings (culturally and directionally), but you are also just beginning the process of discovering where your own things are.  What’s more, you find yourself to be totally unknown in your new environment.  They don’t know you, your giftings, your personality, your tastes, your passions–nothing.  

Phase IV – Entering:

This is when you begin to be known again.  The people you live with are slowly discovering–with a little unabashed self-promotion–who you are and what you can do.  Concurrently you are being relationally investigated (just as you too are investigating people) for their potential as friends, partners and contacts. Dive too deep, with too little discernment and you’ve just buried yourself in over-commitment.  To be too conservative in this period feels like being damned to continue in the uncertainty of Phase III.  

Phase V – Reengagement:

Finally, as your transition to your new culture begins to normalize (a process which will probably take no less than a year), you have come to be known and to know.  You feel settled again.  You know where things are, and though you will always continue learning about the culture and language, you at least know some of how to get around in this once foreign place.  

What a journey, huh?  Nonetheless it is the journey we find ourselves on with God.  

I think this all speaks pretty well for itself, but the one thing I would like to highlight, is the importance of knowing and being known.  Over and over it comes up.  Where do things belong?  Where do I belong?  Who knows that’s where I belong?  Amazing how important it is to know and be known–even when it means knowing where to buy bread or where to put my keys.  What I’m wondering is, What does that desire say about us as people?

Joey

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