First Month of Second Term

In the past six weeks, we have had a lot of transition and are now settling back in to our other home. We hope these photos will give you a clearer picture of where we are.

Reality

Sometimes it seems like you can do the same work from a distance. We’ve all been trying it. It appears to be working. We are getting things done and work is moving forward, in all sorts of ways. This is wonderful and a new normal for us all.

Yet, when you are able to be back doing the work in person again, things are different. For me, I am able to see, appreciate, and find missing parts and pieces that I didn’t realize were even missing from a distance.

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

This is a little bit what it was like when I went to church in person for the first time after the lockdown. Even though we were spread out and wearing masks, I hadn’t realized what a difference being together made, singing and listening, in the same space.

It is also a bit of what I’ve been experiencing as we are returning to Yaoundé and our work, in person. The reality of the various crisis situations around the country is much harder and more bleak than what I could hear or see from a distance. There are pieces of my life that are being revived, and I hadn’t even realized they had been dormant. I am able to see and appreciate things up close that I wasn’t able to from a distance.

From a distance, sometimes what seems to be is only part of the picture in reality.

The Last Time We…

We just left the season of lasts. Last Times. Or what we would call “the-last-time-we…”. Or, at least, Last Times for a While.

We said it so many times over the past month that I think the kids became tone deaf to the idea, but it’s important to mark those times as they happen and allow everyone to say goodbye in their own way.

We heard it a few times, “I didn’t realize we wouldn’t see Aunt Jen’s house again.” Sometimes you miss it and your opportunity is gone.

Here are some of the last times we noted:

  • The last Chick-Fil-A meal.
  • The last visit to Shannon’s Aunt and Uncle’s.
  • The last time they saw their cousins, and Aunts and Uncles.
  • The last time we saw Grandmas and Grandpa.

And these last times are hard. What’s important is that we get a chance to note it and a chance to say goodbye.

We turn now to “first things”.

What is the first thing you’ll do…

We Have Arrived

Thank you for your prayers! After a long journey from Detroit, we arrived safely in Cameroon late in the evening on Tuesday. We received our negative Covid-19 test results in plenty time to be printed before we left. The trip was smooth and all of our luggage arrived. God went before us each step of the way!

We are also thankful for the warm welcome we received to our quarantine apartment in Cameroon, with transport, groceries, and a meal waiting for us.

We are returning to our work and studies remotely and settling into our new routine. We hope to move into our home in Yaounde in two weeks.

It is a joy to be back on the field and be able to continue to support the life-changing work of Bible translation in Cameroon. We could not have gotten here without you! 

Thank you for being partners with us on this journey.

Temporary

Everyone wants things that last. People don’t want temporary.

When we first arrived back in the USA the idea of temporary was constantly on my mind. I found myself saying “we don’t need that” to many things. We can get by without because we’ll just need to get rid of it soon.

Even our home is temporary. And tonight is the last time we’ll sleep in our rental house. The temporary is gone, its end is here.

And what begins now is just a new temporary.

We trade one for another.

Unlike some people who live overseas, we never live there permanently. We aren’t there to settle for generations. We aim to live fully in our host country, but the reality of our situation is that we can’t stay forever.

It’s through this lack of complete permanence that we know change is always coming.

When our plane lands and we unpack our bags another countdown clock will begin. Sometimes we know when that clock will reach zero, and sometimes we don’t. But it’s always ticking.

We want to believe we have permanence, but we’re all just aliens and strangers in this world. But one day we will find something permanent.

Another Unknown

I’ve often felt (and maybe heard from someone else) that a missionary’s life is just unknowns. Not knowing when travel documents will arrive, or a housing arrangement will be finalized. You learn to live with the unknowns. I suppose that’s not always true, but there are times when it really seems that way.

Right now, is one of those times.

When are you leaving? We’re not sure.

Transition is hard, but it gets amplified by not knowing the when.

I think everyone’s getting a taste of that this year.

Local Response to Pandemic

There are a variety of responses even within the USA to stay-at-home orders and to instructions to be socially distant and wear masks.

In Cameroon, there has been a concerted effort by churches and local language development organizations to work together to provide reliable public health information in the local language.

The following article tells a little more about the ongoing efforts in Yaounde in response to COVID-19: https://www.wycliffe.net/covid-19-cameroon/