I’ve been home about a month now, so I guess it’s about time to write my re-entry blog…finally.
Our last month in Indonesia was an incredible blessing. We had the privilege of spending our time with some lovely friends we made who were from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan. They were refugees living in Indonesia and waiting to get permission to move to their new country. Most of these people were forced to flee their homes at a moment’s notice due to the threat on their lives from the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Their lives in Indonesia are not easy. They are not permitted to work unless they do so as volunteers, so many of them rely on family that lives elsewhere. Their children cannot go to government schools, but this has not stopped them from getting an education. A group of men and women, many of whom have no background in education, are opening and running schools. It is a beautiful sight to behold and it was amazing to be a part of helping them.
We had the privilege of working with a couple who have lived and worked in Indonesia for over 30 years. They love this country and are devoted to seeing God’s Kingdom built, even if it means sleeping on the floor of a church and bucket showering with five twenty somethings they just met. Their faithfulness and devotion to God and His Kingdom was inspiring.
Now, for the part about coming home. It may come as a surprise to some of you, but, I did not want to come home. I know, crazy! Now, close those gaping mouths and read on, because my reason for not wanting to come home may surprise you. I love my family. I love my friends here in the US and it is always so refreshing to come back and spend time with everyone. I’m continually blessed by those who tell me they’ve been praying for me, reading my blogs, Facebook stalking me, etc. It makes me feel better about all the Facebook stalking I do when I’m abroad *insert winky face here*. So clearly, my not wanting to return is not due to lack of love for the people I come back to.
I didn’t want to come home because I was afraid.
Yes, you heard that right. I was scared to come home and I’m only a little ashamed to admit that. In fact, I’m not at all ashamed. Going abroad, to me, seems simple. There is a certain level of fear that comes with the uncertainty, but there is a different kind of fear that comes from a false idea of certainty. As I began thinking about returning Stateside, I couldn’t help but call to remembrance the last time I’d been abroad and what had happened when I returned. To put it lightly, I got derailed and it took several years to recover my identity from the damage I’d done to myself. I was not about to let that happen again.
There were many conversations I had with God, giving Him ideas about what I could do rather than go home, and He smiling and continuing to point in the direction I least wanted to go.
“But what if I do it all over again?” I kept asking Him. “I know what I’m capable of and I don’t want to see that happen again. I don’t want to lose all I’ve gained!”
“You are not the same person you were eight years ago,” He replied. “Your heart is different because you are in love with Me, not with a place. You now know that your transformation came from My hand, not from a trip to a new country (or countries).”
I found peace and security in His words. I couldn’t actually know what coming back held for me.
My past, therefore, would not determine my future.
We spent five days debriefing in Bali, where I was able to spend time decompressing and enjoying the last of my time with my squad that I’d come to love like family. Oh, and I fulfilled a lifelong dream and learned to surf!
I returned home to a very happy couple of parents and friends who had worked together to remodel my bedroom and bathroom. I was so blessed by their act of love (and how well they knew me…they are perfect!). I began resting, trying to break the nasty jet lag, and trying to find things to do. It took me about a week to realize that my staying home and trying to find things to do was not going to make for a healthy re-entry. I was going to need something to do.
Within a few days, I was feeling apathy and depression begin to wrap me in their warm embrace. It happened almost without my realizing it. I fell into a regular routine that I’d known before and I was quickly forgetting what it meant to live as one in love. I was beginning to forget that I was completely dependant on my Beloved, my God, the One who means everything to me. This is when I am so grateful for community, for friends who will listen to where you are and speak into those places with truth and love. After several conversations and one great declaration made over me that I would “not just survive, but thrive in this environment,” I felt a weight lifted. I have found a sweet intimacy with God in this season of waiting, which I feel all the feels. I cry, I laugh, I feel restless, I feel a gentle hand on my shoulder telling me to just wait. It can be frustrating, but I love what I am learning about the Father in the waiting. He is so patient and kind.
I am currently working as the secretary at the Catholic church in Walsenburg and loving it. Administration is one of my strong suits and, I’m not going to lie, it feels good to be working in my strong place right now. I enjoy getting to know the people in the Parish and joking around with Father Stephen, the priest. He’s from Nigeria, has a grand sense of humor, is servant-hearted, and we are like-hearted in our love for the great continent of Africa (I love how the office smells when he makes Nigerian food). I have spent the last few weeks learning the ropes and bringing order to the office, something else I love to do.
My future plans are still in limbo. I am praying about joining a ministry in Spain where I would have the opportunity to spread the Kingdom all over the planet with other young people. It would be amazing! Should you feel so inclined, it would mean the world to me if you would join me in prayer about this.
Now you know where I’m at and where I’m headed. Thank you to all who have joined me in this incredible God-adventure so far. Your prayers and support mean more to me than I can express. If you have anything you would like me to join you in prayer for, please let me know. It is always a privilege to pray for my brothers and sisters!