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.
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!
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.
Well, it has been busy. With the start of school, we have been busy. The kids are playing soccer and cheerleading. Eila also attended the homecoming dance. We visited with family at Old Man’s Cave in Ohio, and have been returning to local favorites like cider mills.
And, the weather is getting cold. We all need extra layers.
When we left Michigan for France I brought this empty key ring with me. I figured I would need something to keep my keys on, so when I took the last key off the ring, I put it in my pocket. This was the night before we boarded our plane in December 2016.
And, as expected, I put keys on it. The key to our apartment, and the key to the garage where we kept our bikes. It was full for a while, but then it came time to leave France after we finished language school. It was empty again.
During our arrival in Cameroon, it filled again. Keys to our house, to my office. Periodically I would attach a car key to this ring.
But, as we were leaving Cameroon about a month ago, I stared down at this key ring again.
It was empty.
It was waiting for what was next.
I didn’t realize it when I left, but I was bringing with me a very tangible representation of transition.
Loved ones are removed, new friends are added.
Emptied and filled.
You can’t live overseas without a terrible hole in your heart from having to leave those you love behind. At the same time you also know that loved ones are waiting on the other side, family, old friends, or even those you haven’t met yet.
In between you have an empty key ring.
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