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My travel schedule has settled down from the months leading up to my last newsletter, but I am still bouncing around quite a bit. I ushered in the new year with a trip to California to meet with a counselor who works specifically with missionary debriefing, have spent a couple weeks in Nebraska as the official family chauffeur for my dad’s cataract surgeries, and took what felt somewhat like a grand tour of the pacific coast visiting supporting churches and such in British Columbia (Richmond and Vancouver), Oregon (Dallas), and Washington State (Puyallup).
While traveling to visit and speak at supporting churches and elsewhere, I really enjoy the opportunity to get to know individuals who have prayerfully and financially supported me for years. It is exciting to put faces with the names and individuals with the churches names that I had only known on paper up to that point. I also LOVE the opportunities I have had to reconnect with individuals I haven’t seen in a long time. It is a constant reminder of the greater body of Christ of which we are a part! On top of the joy of catching up with old friends and meeting new ones, it is so exciting to see parts of both the US and Canada where I have never been! I believe I will always be struck by the beauty and variety God has presented in his creation and thankful for the ease of travel here in North America, even when the weather is less than cooperative.
I know these newsletters aren’t a place to get political, but it is hard to ignore the degree of insanity which has flooded much of the news in recent weeks. My heart is heavy as I am confronted repeatedly by the hatefulness that has come to dominate so much of the American political rhetoric. So much of what is being said is coming from such extreme ends of the spectrum that even when you disagree with one side, it is hard to agree with the other, creating a sense of alienation across the board. Yet issues ‘home’ in the US are barely the tip of the iceberg! Unrest in the English-speaking parts of Cameroon since November has kept schools closed and twice weekly ‘ghost town’ days have kept people off the streets and businesses closed for much of that same time. (Even if you consider only the economic impact of that, the consequences can be devastating, especially for those whose ability to feed their family rests on each day’s business.) Even more discouraging is the fact that there doesn’t seem to be any movement or discussion happening in the situation. Internet access has been cut in those parts of the country, people have been arrested, and throughout the country people are growing more and more cautious with what they are willing to say, further clouding the ability of the outside world to understand the situation.
Since RFIS is in the French-speaking part of the country, it has continued to operate and as of right now there is no reason to believe that would change. However, so many of my missionary friends work in the English-speaking regions as do family members of my Cameroonian friends. Please pray for peace and resolution.
I am reminded of a scientific concept from my secondary school years. Yes, I had to go back and look it up to make sure I was remembering it correctly, and I am using it a bit out of context because, as you can imagine, my knowledge of thermodynamics is VERY limited (non-existent!), but a very limited definition of entropy is “the idea that everything in the universe eventually moves from order to disorder.” (vocabulary.com) Sound at all like the world we are living in?
Ok, now for the big news . . . All of you who have visited with me during my months back here in North America know that I have really struggled with the ‘what’s next ’ question. I have had no peace with the idea of going back to Cameroon but also wasn’t convinced that my time there was over. In the past month and a half or so my calling and heart to serve MKs has been repeatedly confirmed and God has been making it increasingly clear that I WILL BE RETURNING TO CAMEROON. I will admit that I am still experiencing a bit of a rollercoaster of emotions about that decision, and we are working through the timing of my return as well as details of what I need to do and what needs to happen in order to return in a healthy way – spiritually, emotionally, and physically. ‘Missionary care’ and ‘self care’ are topics we don’t tend to talk about much, but I am growing to understand more and more how important they are as we work to sort out exactly what that will look like for me. Please be praying for me as I continue to work through this process. Please know how much I value the support and encouragement I have received from so many of you in recent years as well as throughout this decision process and look forward to continuing on this journey together!
One aspect of the ‘self care plan’ I am working to develop is a small support and prayer group who will commit to walking more closely with me on this journey. I know that newsletters are limited in both scope and frequency since they are only sent out quarterly. They tend to relay more of the big picture and in most cases remain primarily a one-way form communication. My hope for this small support and prayer group is that we be able to develop more frequent, reciprocal communication about the things that come up in daily life.
As always, I would love to hear from you! The best way to contact me is on Facebook or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org