They say that when you have a child, you don’t love less because your heart is divided; you love more because your heart grows.
Funny how that works.
Being born and raised in Canada, I’ve always loved the quiet beauty of the land and people. National pride for those qualities that are … Canadian. They’re hard to write on paper, but are written in our hearts and how we see/live life. So when I left Canada to work in the U.S. (totally thinking it would be temporary), I was sure I would never love Americans the way I love my native homeland. I was wrong. 23 years later, tears roll down my face when I hear the American national anthem, and I pray with all my heart for this nation. This not only is the homeland of my husband and two children, but in my heart is my home as well. My heart has swelled to adopt this nation as home. So much for thinking it was temporary.
Enter Kenya and the Turkana people. I saw pictures on Facebook of the ladies I teach Monday morning devotions to, and my heart wept. Two years in Loki, two months being back in the U.S.*, and my heart yearns to be with them again. I want to see their smiling faces as they greet me, hear more of their stories, and see our prayers being answered. Sorrow began to descend; then I smiled. My heart has grown again.
The thing I’m learning is the more I choose to love, choose to let people into my heart; the easier it is to love strangers. Strangers don’t stay strangers for long. They become friends.
I love how God works – binding hearts together in the most unlikely places through perfectly orchestrated encounters. Of all the things I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving, a growing heart to love the people God puts in my path is top of my list. Thank you, God. You knew.
*For those who are out of the loop, we emergently returned to the U.S. for a family emergency (Joel’s mom) and found out my Green Card status does not allow me to live out of the U.S. for more than 6 months a year. I’ve applied for a re-entry permit which allows me to return to Kenya and be allowed back into the U.S. with my Green Card status intact; and also applied for American citizenship. All paperwork has been filed, so I’m waiting for approval of the re-entry permit and an appointment for citizenship fingerprinting and photographs. Lord willing, we hope to return to Kenya within a few months.
Ok, so this is pretty embarrassing. It has been almost exactly a year since we last added a post to this blog. Partly due to us being locked out of our admin page, but mostly to just being too busy to keep up with it. I know neither are great excuses. How ’bout this. I hate writing and LaReina has been too busy. That’s more like it. Oh, and we were locked out of our admin page.
Anyhow all that aside, we are now back up and running and have updated a lot of info and links on the blog. Mainly the Newsletters Archive. If you have been wondering what we have been up to and have not received our newsletters, click on the Newsletter link above and you will find an up-to-date list. We will try to at least keep the blog current with those.
Where are we now. As most of you know, we came back to the US in September to be with Joel’s mom before she passed October 4. We spent some time in Alaska to be with Joel’s dad as he transitioned through this time. We were also working on LaReina’s Green Card and citizenship issue. See Next Steps for more information on that.
We are now in Duvall, WA awaiting the results of the request for the Reentry Permit and the initial steps for the Citizenship process for LaReina. All the paperwork has been submitted and now we wait. The Reentry Permit is what will allow her to leave the US and return without any issues. Without it, she cannot leave the US and retain her Permanent Resident Green Card status. It will probably only be good for one year. For a long term solution, we are also working on her American Citizenship. Because we were out of the US for so long, we encountered complications for the routine process. We have retained an immigration attorney who specializes in missionary citizenship to guide us through this part. Again, everything has been turned in and we are awaiting the results or appointments for the next steps in the process.
We are praying we will have the Reentry permit and Bio-metrics for the Citizenship done by January 5th so we can use our current tickets to get back to Kenya. At this point we have received no indication how long this could take. Please be praying for this.