It’s Sunday morning, and Joel and I are preparing to share the amazing ways we are witnessing God moving in our lives and in the lives of those we serve in East Africa. Renee and Ian masterfully set up the presentation table in the back that offers information about Africa Inland Mission (AIM), AIM AIR, and the Turkana ANA ladies that I teach Monday morning devotions to. They know the drill; they’ve done it no less than 20 times. Details in place, we steady our hearts and prepare for the onslaught of emotions.
Reconnecting with the church and those we love is a cause for excitement and anticipation. Old friends smile from the seats, and new friends lean forward. We are joined in the belief that God truly is alive and active in our world. It’s stories of release from darkness, growing in faith and hope, of taking the gospel to distant locations to the unreached. Joy fills our hearts as we remember and share what God has done. Tears fill our eyes as we share about the tragedies that God works through. As we look at the PowerPoint pictures coming up on the screen, we are reminded of those we love that are a continent away. For a moment we’re stuck between two continents, two worlds. Our deep love is for both.
All the ministry opportunities are presented and upcoming ways to connect are available. ‘Oh! That one sounds fun!’ we whisper, but then we remember – we’re leaving next week to hit the road. Brief sadness comes in, a sense of not belonging. We are reminded that our heart can’t settle here, this is not our home.
There is comfort in being in the body of Christ that is bigger than any individual building, program, or small group. Our home is in the body of Christ, which is in this church, the one next week, and in the heart of each believer we encounter in whatever continent we’re on.
This isn’t our home, it was never intended to be. We’re just passing through…
We’re into the third month of being back in North America and have traveled 8,000+ miles in our trusty Honda Pilot (the one possession that we chose to retain when we sold everything to move to Africa). Our journey has taken us through Alberta, Washington, Alaska (we flew up there commercially), Idaho, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania (and everything in-between). A week in New York, and we’re on the move again to Maine.
There’s something about hours on the road that offers time to think and reflect. Flat terrain with interstate highways boasts of high speeds where you can get to the next destination quickly, but the scenery passes by with barely a glance. Crossing over the Rocky Mountains slows us up a bit as we weave through God’s majestic beauty. As we slow down, without even thinking we take a deep breath of the clean, refreshing air and our souls relax. Conversation in the car picks up, and we talk about dreams. City driving brings more tension, navigating unfamiliar streets and maps and avoiding other cars that know exactly where they’re going. Conversation is put on hold – all eyes are busy scanning signs and we’re joined together in the mission of the moment, a different bonding than the light-hearted moments.
We reflect on the past years of ministry in Lokichoggio, the urge to get to the next destination and missing some of the beauty along the way. Agendas and tasks can steal away the joy, laughter, and sharing. The beauty is always there to be enjoyed, and even as we are on task, our spirits can be filled. I love how God has created us to find the most peace when we are with Him – experiencing Him in nature, joined together with fellow sojourners.
We have many more miles to go, from Maine to Florida, through the lower states and popping up into Colorado and Kansas. Onward through Arizona, around to Oregon, Washington, and up to Alberta again. Our Home Assignment is a steady pace onward, but there is joy in the journey.
It is well in our souls…