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/

At Home

Like many people across the world, we have been spending a lot of time at home. I feel like this picture sums up how some days have gone:

Hopefully everyone is enjoying this time at home.

There are many question about what happens next for us, but no more than there are for everyone right now. We wait on the Lord, and know that He has been faithful in the past and will continue to be.

Exploring

Where we live there is a creek that runs through a nearby park. The kids have always wanted a creek in our backyard and this is the next best thing.

Where we live is pretty built up with houses, but there’s still a few places where you can go into the woods and explore.

The latest thing that has caught their interest is the way the creek is producing ice all over it from the flowing water.

It’s easy to forget that there are things to be found just outside our doors.

Holidays

There’s no doubt that being away from family during the holidays is hard. It was great to spend Christmas and Thanksgiving with new friends, things just weren’t the same.

During the holidays there’s always something that makes Thanksgiving your family’s Thanksgiving, or that makes Christmas your family’s Christmas. For us, that was usually food.

And in Cameroon we would attempt to recreate these recipes.

Usually they were close. However, no matter how closely a recipe is followed, or how carefully the ingredients are selected, making it yourself — especially in a different country — just isn’t the same.

And the holidays don’t feel right.

So we were glad to be able to visit with our family’s Christmas and Thanksgiving this year and be part of the familiar again.

Merriest Christmas Wish

For a lighthearted update and a little fun… a Christmas poem for our friends and family to enjoy!

Twas the week before Christmas and all through the house
The children were sleeping and so was my spouse.
So, I pause to think of Jesus and the gift God gave,
And I want you to know it is Him that you crave.
Our family has had another year of transitions,
Which makes it more special to share in traditions,
Like going to the lake at Au Gres with our cousins
And camping at Hocking Hills, walking miles by the dozens.
We loved the early big snow and beautiful colors this fall,
But enjoying time with our family and friends is the best of all!
We are so glad to share the holidays with extended family:
Making cookies, playing games and maintaining our sanity.
The first half of this year we were still living in Cameroon,
Dancing and singing to a slightly different tune.
At the end of the school year, we’ll return to Yaounde;
It’s become our other home, where we work as well as play.
Both in Africa and the US, Brian plays soccer to stay fit;
Of course, so do the kids, but I (Shannon) run a little bit.
I’m working on my MA in Linguistics at Wayne State.
Brian’s able to do a lot of work remotely, which is great.
Josiah is now a hungry 13-year-old middle schooler.
Thaddeus is having fun in 5th grade, everyday a whole lot cooler.
Joe’s grown taller than Eila, of which he is proud.
And both boys play as much Minecraft as they’re allowed.
We can hardly believe that Eila, our daughter,
Is now attending her parents’’s high school alma mater.
After trying cheerleading, she’s back competing in gymnastics,
Even all the time on TikTok and K-pop don’t hurt her scholastics!
Now, we hope that this winter in Michigan we won’t freeze
And we hope that you have enjoyed this update from the Yees.
May you experience God’s love for you in a new way this year!
Our one extra wish is truly warm and sincere:
Merry Christmas to you and a Happy New Year!

Snow Day

If you live in Michigan, you already know that a little over a week ago we got a record breaking snowfall. If you live elsewhere, well, it was a lot of snow for November.

The kids were ecstatic.

After missing out on snow for the past few “winters” they were really looking forward to getting a good amount of snowfall to make forts, snowmen, and to play in.

The kids got their wish fairly early this year and on top of all that, got a day home from school out of it as well.

In comparison, here’s a photo from November 17th last year.

Partners in the Gospel

I have been reminded many times lately of how all Christians are working for the same thing and have been for a really long time. Even going back to the apostles. Not too long ago, I read a post about the need for missionary care which mentioned how Paul thanked the Philippians for their partnership, specific their support through: “encouragement, prayer, logistics, communication, finance and reentry… And every missionary today needs care in those six areas.” (Neal Pirolo Interview)

It is so true. Everyone needs care. Missionaries might have a few particular areas of need that differ from others. Yet, if we are partners in living out and sharing the good news about Jesus, then we can and should care for one another. The practical ways that we care are evidence of our love and therefore part of our witness.

Like Paul, I am so grateful for the partners we have all over the world. One of our partners in the Gospel is a national linguistics worker who is now working to find financial partners to help cover expenses for his family and also for the work of several language programs in an area of Cameroon where, as foreigners, we cannot currently work. If you’d like to give financially or want to know more about how to partner with this other missionary, please let me know.

We are grateful recipients of lots of care and hopefully also generous givers of similar care.