Sunday, June 19, 2005

In the meantime . . . the period of time between now and what's next

I've been thinking much lately about the phrase "in the meantime." This past year has been an in-the-meantime year. When I first moved to Cedar Rapids a year ago, I knew that I'd be moving to Canada within a year. But before I could go where I believed God was calling me, I had to raise support. I got involved in my community in Cedar Rapids, making this a most exciting year. I got to know incredible people, both young and old(er). I fell in love with the Midwest. I shot roots in this part of the world.

In the meantime, I knew I will have to leave. It's inevitable. My American visa will run out soon, plus, I have scholarship obligations which require me to leave the USA. Yet I refused to be tentative in my involvement with life in Cedar Rapids, even though I knew my stay was only temporary.

And now that my time to leave truly has arrived, I am forced to wait once again. The Canadian government is requiring documentation from Canada which was not stipulated on their Web site. I may be here for another week. Or two. Or three. God only knows. In the meantime, I will keep my eyes focused on the goal: pressing onward in Christ, yet living fully in the moment.

I'm leaving soon, but in the meantime, I'm loving my time in Iowa. I'm enjoying plenty of fresh sweet corn. I went to a Kernels baseball game for the first time last night and learned lots about the game Americans love so much. Even just in the past week, I have gotten to know people whom I know I'd be sad to say good-bye to when I leave.

Emotionally, it's challenging at times. I have to prepare to leave, but since my exact departure date is no longer anything I can plan, I have to also continue to enjoy every day here and now.

I'll be heading Westward soon for a 3-day drive to Vancouver where once again I will have to make new friends, shoot roots, find a church, serve Christ in whatever ways he brings across my path. In many ways, I am dreading the transition. I dread saying good-bye. But in the meantime, I am so looking forward to what is lying ahead.

Please do pray for my work permit to arrive soon.
Please pray for a safe drive.
Please pray for me as I have to say good-bye to good friends here.
And please pray that God will bring people into my life in Vancouver who will not only be a friend to me, but who I can encourage and bless.

I still have a significant amount of monthly support outstanding. If you're not already a financial partner and would like to commit to supporting me financially, I would truly appreciate it. Please let me know if you have any questions.

With much love,


Friday, June 17, 2005

Some favorite travel memories

Inhaminga, Mozambique

Summer 2004. Can it really be a year ago? Memories of my time in Mozambique are still fresh in my mind. One of many favorites: cramming 7 girls into the back of a pickup and squeezing the guys into an African-style taxi with 10 others, we drove 6 hours over bumpy roads to Inhaminga (pronounced ya'minga). We passed several trains that lay upside down, blown up during the 20+ year civil war. Everytime we had to stop for a bathroom break, we had to find a place by the side of the road where tractors had plowed. That way, we were assured, we would not accidently set off a landmine.

We stopped by a roadside market and purchased roast goat meat and grilled chicken. And we gulped down bottles of Fanta and Coke, not allowed to take the bottle with us unless we had bottles to trade...

It was late afternoon by the time we arrived in the small village. Everyone from the neighborhood had gathered to welcome us. As we filed out of our vehicles, people were singing and dancing. For many, we were the first white people they had ever seen.

Relationship is key in Africa, and so we did all we could to connect with the people who could not understand us, nor could we understand them. We pulled out jump ropes from our luggage, and as the sun set behind the papaya trees and the African huts, the singing and laughter of children's voices were louder than the sounds of the bugs announcing the end of the day.

Later, as we sat around the fire, I stepped aside to look at the star-filled sky. The milky way was a thick, white line. I could spot many satelites and shooting stars. One of my team members joined me and we prayed, thanking God for his awesome creativity. Then I felt a little hand in mine. Some children had noticed us standing a distance from the fire. As I knelt down and held the child, more joined us. Though they couldn't understand my words, I told them how precious they were.

As I looked up, the children were perfect silhouettes against the African stars. A treasured memory of the little village in the middle of nowhere.