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03 November, 2012

So close and yet so far . . . . .

We feel so close!  We are close to the completion of the painting and carpentry work being done in this house.  Close to completion of the first three months of language study.  Close to feeling at home here. Close to going home to visit Kenya.  We are so close, and yet so far in many ways.

This is the longest time of transition we have been in. There is hardly any furniture in the house while we wait on completion of the work being done inside, and while we wait to bring our things from Kenya.  Even when we went to Kenya the very first time it didn't take this long to get things from home there.  It’s the small things we look forward to when our household goods can join us here…like having our tools ready-at-hand when we want to do a project; like having favorite recipes at our fingertips; like having enough hangers for our clothes; like having the hair clippers we are used to using….they are so close and yet so far!  Of course, we could get those things here, but when they are so close to joining us why purchase more?  And so it goes…we’re so close and yet so far. But that’s OK.

We are close to the end of these initial months of language study.  We know a lot of vocabulary in Luganda.  We are close to simple conversation level with other Luganda speakers.  Yet, we seem so far from being able to speak the language.  All our conversation is halting at best.  We laugh at ourselves because we hear what is said in Luganda, we think of the reply in English and then figure out how we would say it in Kiswahili (which we studied in Kenya) because the grammar is similar to Luganda, and then we translate it from Kiswahili into Luganda as we “hunt” through our minds for the right words.  No wonder it takes us a while to get anything said!  So close and yet so far. But that’s OK.

We listen keenly to what we hear.  We observe intently that which we see.  We notice what is said and done.  We are listening and watching, waiting and observing to know what all God is inviting us to join that He is already doing.  We pray.  We read.  We listen and watch.  We hear Him speak.  We see Him at work.  We are close to “diving in” when language study is done.  We are close…and yet we wait, not wanting to be far. We want to be right with God as He continues to move and speak and draw others to Himself. Even when wishing to be more at home, it’s OK. We want to be right where God wants us to be…right where He has us now. It’s OK.

We are close to going into Kenya.  Mid-November will find us at Tenwek for the graduation exercises of Tenwek School of Nursing.  We will also visit the Africa Gospel Church (AGC) Kenya that commissioned us as their missionaries.  We can hardly wait to go home.  We are so close…and yet, we are sure it will feel a bit far as we visit.  That is not our home anymore.  It will always be home to us, but it is not our home anymore.  We will be so close, and yet so far. But that’s OK.

This week we had a taste of home.  The first fruits (greens, actually) of our garden here were eaten with a friend from Kenya (who lives in Uganda) and a friend from Uganda in celebration of God’s faithful provision for us all.  We had a “Kenyan” meal of sukuma wiki (the greens), ugali (maize flour cooked up just as we like it), beans and chapatti.  YUMMMMMM!  It was grand to us.  Made us feel right at home…so close…so very, very close.  And that’s OK.

Lessons in transition are worth learning, even when they pain us. Contentment is worth realizing. Planting a garden and bringing in harvest is worth the effort. Listening, watching, hearing and observing bring new insights that remind us to be content in all circumstances. God called us here to be laborers in His harvest.  It is worth the effort.  It is worth the wait.  We are close, even though it sometimes feels far. And that’s OK.  It really is OK.  We are content in Christ alone.


Anonymous said...

Bless you dear, dear guys! This beautiful sharing reminded me that, indeed, contentment is worth the wait. And it IS ok! I love you both,

Nancy Almquist said...

I am encouraged by your words...knowing at times the longing for something more can be both exhilarating and also exhausting. Your faithfulness to honor God is the midst of the changes is such a blessing! I am praying God would continue to bless your faithfulness in ways you wouldn't imagine.

I am guessing you are back in Kenya now...or have gone and returned to Uganda. Chris was telling me last weekend you were getting ready to go and how you were looking forward to getting your household items so you could really settle in Uganda. Isn't it funny how much the little things make us feel more comfortable in our space. Little things like hair clippers, recipes and even the smells of familiar food cooking. I am praying God would bring that to you quickly.

I am sure your reunion with friends at Tenwek will be somewhat bitter/sweet. I am praying for lots of laughter and shared moments to celebrate the big and the little changes and progress. I am praying God would again confirm your new direction.

God is faithful always - and you know that. God is good always - and you know that too. God has a purpose - and I pray he shows you more of that daily.

Lots of love and prayers, Nancy