Last week marked THREE years we've been on home assignment in the US. We landed here three years ago from Australia, with God's words reverberating in our ears: "Rebuild your community, rebuild your finances, find your next ministry partners."
We were full of excitement as we reconnected with family and friends. Full of hope as we stepped into the next season and wondering what it would bring. Our time in Australia had been amazing, fruitful and satisfying - it was so hard for us to leave, but we were confident in God's directive and ready to see where he led us.
As the months ticked on, our hope began to wane, and our joy was replaced with longing. Around the eight-month mark, we began getting antsy to get on a plane and get on with things. We don't ever feel like we fit quite right in America. But God said, "Not yet."
In early 2019, after finally committing to being present where we were, God gave us the green light to start searching for ministry partners. We'd been stateside for over a year and it was like he breathed new life into us- the hope had returned and we were eager to see what was next.
That spring, after just a few months of praying, searching and networking with our ministry connections in different parts of the globe, God pointed us to our new ministry partners. It all seemed too good to be true at first, and we questioned weather it was God's plan or just our own desire to get up and GO. He showed us, though, that he'd planned this all along and reminded us of a word he gave us four years prior that pointed to this very moment. It was April of 2019 when we committed to move to South Africa in February of 2020.
There was a spring in our step! There was renewed hope! Joy! Spark! Spunk! This was finally happening and We. Could. Not. Wait. We started making plans to sell off what little possessions we'd acquired, began looking for ways to store our car and made plans for Owen's schooling, transitioning him from a charter school to a homeschool co-op so we'd have more flexibility in our move date and smother transition to full time homeschool.
In June of 2020 we found out we were pregnant again. SURPRISE! This was NOWHERE on our radar (you can read more about that little miracle here). I'm slightly ashamed to say, my heart sank a little when I counted the weeks to figure out my due date. Mid March of 2020. A month and a half past when we wanted to move to South Africa. I questioned God - why would he give us the go-ahead, why would he connect us to South Africa and line everything up, and then get us pregnant!? I was so confused.
As disheartened as I was about pushing back our move date, I was more focused on growing that little bean inside of me and carrying to term, so much of my thoughts were consumed by the pregnancy, not by the move. We set our new move date for July 2020. Once we got to the 'all clear' stage of the pregnancy my thoughts shifted back to the move. I began putting together a list of the items we'd need to buy and take with us, things we could borrow until we moved and things we'd need to get rid of. I was back in move-mode and it was fun, though a bit surreal, planning an overseas move with a fourth human in the mix. We even moved from our leased duplex into a friend's furnished (but not lived-in) home as a short-term rental until our projected move in July. We didn't even bother getting the community pool key because we assumed we'd be gone by the time summer came around. Then another surprise hit that was so shocking I wet my pants. Sort of literally. Well, my water broke in the movie theater three weeks before my due date. So there were definitely wet pants. We welcomed our sweet boy in the middle of February and we were over-the-moon to meet him. We soaked up his newborn-ness and ogled over him night and day. Then one month later, something no one could imagine happened: a global pandemic. Honestly it didn't feel like it affected us too much at first. We were in newborn-baby-recovering-from-a-c-section-mode so we weren't really leaving the house anyway. As the months wore on and things weren't easing up, we saw our move date come and go, again.
And here we are.
We are waiting more. So. Much. Waiting. So much unknown. We've done everything in our power to prepare for the move, and there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel with South Africa opening her borders, so that's bringing us more hope. We've gotten as much of the visa paperwork filled out that we can, we've applied for J's passport, we're back on the partnership development train, hosting networking and fundraising events and organizing our possessions into take/sell/store/donate piles. We've set another move date - February 2021. Slightly fortuitously since that was our original move date, but that's also when schools start up in South Africa and we thought it'd be best to arrive around then since we're working largely in the education sector. If I'm being 100% honest, though, I'm not clinging too tightly to that February move date. It's mostly there as a reminder for us to stay focused on raising the budget we need before we get on the field, and it feels good to just have some sort of date on the proverbial calendar. Plus our family knows all too well that our calendar doesn't mean much because God's timing is what matters most. As cliché as that sounds, and as obnoxious as that saying can be, it's something I try to remind myself of in the waiting. And in the mean time, we're trying to be present, soak up the seasons, linger a little long with our friends and lean into God's wisdom for all the things.