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/

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.