Monday, April 21, 2014

An intro to the Compass House

Last week, Stan took one of our sons to St. Petersburg, Florida, where he is participating in a program for young adult missionary kids called "Compass House."   The director of the program has had a vision for a residence where college-age missionary kids can live while learning life skills helpful for settling in the US. Our son is actually one of the first two young men to go into a Compass House--though there will be more joining them by the end of the summer.

There are two young men (our son is on the left) in this first house. They have an adult Resident Adviser (second from right) who also has experience as a third culture kid.  The program is overseen by Cindy Duff (right) who is a counselor and member care provider in that area. She meets with the guys once a week to help them in goal-setting, etc.

We are looking forward to what God will do in our son. This is a time of feeling unsettled, of course, and we think that when he finds a job it will be helpful. We are grateful for those who pray for him.

Our other son has picked up part-time work at SIM for which we are thankful.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

A New Stage in Life

Today marks nine months since we returned to the US from Japan.
We were glad to see that there are lovely cherry trees
in the garden area outside our SIM office. One more
link with our Japan past.

When I realized this, I started listing some of the experiences we've had in this time. Huge changes. Major commitments. Wonderful blessings. New financial obligations. Decisions after decisions. New people--LOTS of new people. Loneliness in the midst of community. Memories of what we've left behind, regularly updated through Facebook. Confidence that we've followed God's leading to be here.

I haven't had time (or maybe it hasn't been the right time) to connect to my emotions regarding all the changes. There has always been something else ahead requiring me to focus my emotional energy.

I wrapped up the work for my January class this weekend.  Since I was writing about major depression in missionaries, I was a little nervous that I'd discover it in me (just as anyone of us can read a list of symptoms and diagnose ourselves with a multitude of diseases as a result.) I finished the paper Friday afternoon and have already received my grade (I'm satisfied.) I don't think I'm depressed--but I do know that I am tired and grateful for one less thing to occupy the back of my mind!

We will experience a new stage in life this week. Stan will take one of our sons to Florida to join a program for missionary kid's making the transition to young adulthood in the US. We're living with a paradox of emotions, being both sad and excited to have this one go.  We aren't quite yet empty-nesters, but we will be emptier-nesters.  Of course, that means we will have kids away in three different parts of the world for whom we will worry, pray and eagerly look for updates.

If you pray, please remember our son who makes this big change. Much like sending one off to college for the first time, there are anxieties about the unknown. And pray for us. We know that the nine-month marker in cultural transition it is a fairly common to be a little down. With your prayers and through the mercies of our Lord, we will have our strength renewed.

Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:28-31 NIV

Sunday, April 06, 2014

A life of goodbyes

We had such a wonderful time in the UK with our daughter and son-in-law and little grandson. It was a treat to be with him for his first two weeks of life. It was a joy to see his parents growing in their newly acquired status and skills.

And then it was time to leave. This is how our life has been, and how it will always be. 

It is how my life has always been.  Above is taken from an airport visit with this daughter meeting my mother when we flew in from Japan 25+ years ago.  And I met my grandparents at an airport for the first time when we came back from Brazil 55+ years ago. I am grateful for my missionary heritage, and am thankful for the preparation that my daughter has had to live a cross-cultural life.  But we have both said how hard it is when we hear others talk about getting together with their mom (or mum) for lunch or to go shopping, or we hear about the families that spend every Sunday afternoon together.

So we'll try to keep saving our money and checking airplane deals so we can be together in-person at least once a year. And we rejoice in Facetime and other technologies that allow us to keep more directly in touch.  But we will be honest that the life to which God has called us of many goodbyes can be painful.

Still, I would rather that we be obedient to follow God's call to serve Him  across oceans than be comfortably close but not doing what He wanted us to do. So we will continue to live our life of goodbyes with acceptance and thankfulness.