Living, Learning & Loving La Vida Nueva

Friday, December 7, 2012

Last Days

Nothing has made the idea of moving to Africa a reality quite like getting out of our apartment.  Over the past months we have spent our lives preparing for this giant move.  With the Lord's help, we have raised thousands of dollars in monetary support.  We have filled out visa forms, gathered loads of official documents, made tons of copies, gotten vaccines, completed medicine exams.... the list goes on.  For months I have been following the weather of the town we are moving to, which by the way is still chilly and rainy during these summer months in the southern hemisphere.  But, even after doing all these things and telling nearly everyone we come in contact with that we are planning to move to Africa in January, it has seemed like a far off thing that would happen eventually.  Actually packing our suitcases, gutting our home of almost everything we can't take with us, and parting with many sentimental baby items has made this idea seem so real.

Working on my suitcase

Sorting Jonathan's keepers and goers from his throwers and givers

The start of three huge van loads to the Goodwill

My keep-no-matter-what-take-if-it'll-fit pile

I haven't loved everything about living here. Certainly, I could've done without our obnoxious neighbor and especially her constant cigarette smoke.  The apartment itself isn't anything special, and in fact we have come to realize in the past two years that it was pretty poorly constructed.  But, it has been home and it has been the first place in our married life (and my whole life really) which I got to decorate all on my own.  There were plenty of things I would've liked to have changed, namely the wallpapered bathrooms and kitchen.  However, here we hung decorations, set up a darling nursery for our son, I had a wreath on my door.... I had a real kitchen where the appliances all worked and the water ran out of the faucet in a steady stream.  Most of all, this is the home where Kyle has changed from a seven pound infant to a twenty five pound little boy.  It is hard to look around and see him all over this place and know that these memories will fade even more quickly once we're out of here.

People move and that's the way life is.  We could just as easily be moving down the street or across the country.  All the same sentiments would apply as far as the home itself goes, because obviously you can't pack memories in a suitcase and you have to rely on your mind to hold on to them.  Of course, if we were moving across the country, we would've rented a moving truck and we wouldn't have had to part with so many of our things.  But, I think what makes this move especially hard is not knowing at all what to expect on the other end.  I know we will be renting a place to live, but I don't know if it will be a round hut or a concrete house.  I know we are supposed to have access to standard kitchen appliances but I have absolutely no idea what kinds of groceries we'll be able to find in rural Africa.  Somehow I doubt I'll be making a lot of barbeque meatloaf or baked mac and cheese.  I don't know if I'll have a wreath on my door or curtains on my windows.  I just don't know what setting up "home" in Mokhotlong, Lesotho is going to look like and it makes leaving this comfortable home difficult.

I remember when I really felt my heart completely surrendering to the call of missions, I said I didn't want to be comfortable.  And I meant it.  Saying it and doing it are very different things.  While I wouldn't want to be doing anything else and I can't imagine feeling satisfied with life if Jonathan worked a normal job and we lived in a normal house, it it still very uncomfortable for me to pack up and actually go.  I am being forced to find comfort in my God, my Protector and the One in whom I find strength.  I find comfort in my husband and I am thankful that I am not going alone.  When I look at Kyle, I am comforted that I get to keep him with me, although it hurts me to be taking him from so many others who love him so deeply.

Whenever I try to imagine stepping off of a plane and planting my feet in Africa, I can barely grasp what it will feel like to think, "this is home now."  I want Africa to be our home and I truly hope to be more African than American one day.  I am thoroughly excited about tackling life there, no matter what it might throw at us, and I've even thought about what it will be like if they don't have cheesecake.  I love cheesecake.  I day dream of Kyle playing in a group of black children and I try to imagine what kind of critters he might come walking through my door holding.  After two years of watching my husband work faithfully serving chicken to people every day, I can't wait to see him doing what he loves to do, study and teach the the Bible.  Going is exciting and thrilling and I can hardly believe it's me doing it.

Leaving is so much harder than going.  I feel like a part of my heart is being crushed when I think about leaving for three years.  I have to remind myself that we aren't dying.  I just can't bear to think about my little boy being five before he comes back to visit his aunts and uncles and cousins, some he won't have even met yet.  I know people have been doing this for years, and I know people who are doing it right now.  But it is so hard to think that I am doing it.  It seems as if now that is it getting close, time is in fast forward.  Where I have been looking at everything in terms of months, I am now seeing everything in terms of days.  And they are few.  A dear friend and fellow AIM missionary wrote us this week and said, "Close well, cry well, hold your loved ones for a long time!"

I know my God will sustain me.  I know He will sustain our family and dear friends here at home.  I pray that the peace we feel knowing we are serving Him will outweigh our grief as we leave and months from now when we are homesick.  I pray He will keep us safe and healthy and that we will be able to enjoy many furloughs here with our loved ones.  And I pray He will keep me from being a blubbering mess for the next month and that I will be able to enjoy these last days rather than dread the coming of another.

Last night in the rocking chair I nursed that sweet boy in many many nights.  He loves books.

Last night in his comfy crib.  Sorry it is blurry, I was trying to be quick and not wake him up.  He still woke up, but he went back to sleep.... eventually :) Sleep tight, little buddy. Lightning and Simba are coming with, don't worry.


1 comment:

  1. How I missed this I have no idea. You made a lovely home here and you'll make a lovely home in Lesotho...even if it is a round hut. :-)

    I love you!