Dan, Heather, Jeremiah, Emma, Claire, Levi, Josie and baby Jane

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Paradox











Our whirlwind mini-tour of the U.S. complete, we have finally arrived back in Phoenix, and now have only six days and seven nights left before our journey truly begins. We spent three weeks at Mission Training International in Colorado learning many valuable lessons in conflict management and resolution (Heather is a “shark” and I am an “owl”), perseverance through various trials (i.e. rotovirus), and the greatest tool for evangelism and discipleship (i.e. the love and respect we demonstrate in our immediate family is the strongest Christian witness to those around us…our family is a work in progress on this one).

Jeremiah was particularly ornery the first week, but then discovered that digging in a dirt pile near the train tracks and looking for stray hunks of coal was much more satisfying than tormenting his sisters. The girls provided their usual, yet so enjoyable, drama, and Levi was…Levi. The kids learned much from “Uncle Dave” and “Aunt Sandy” (their teachers). Perhaps most significantly, they learned that it is normal and expected to have paradoxical feelings about our call to Kenya…on the one hand excited to experience this new and raw adventure… on the other hand, sad to leave the things that have provided the most comfort, familiarity, and stability. The adults explored these concepts as well, and even had a day devoted to grief and loss. Rich subjects for an orthopedic surgeon accustomed to stuffing emotions for the past 5 years of training.

While we were in Ohio in September, our nephew Alex was engaged to be married to a beautiful young lady, Sarah. They planned the wedding the weekend after MTI (and prior to our departure for Kenya), just so our family could come. To seal the deal, they invited Emma and Claire to be the flower girls. Thus, last Friday, we drove from Colorado Springs to Denver, caught a flight to Ohio, and just barely made the rehearsal that evening. The busyness and stress of getting there quickly dissipated, however, as I saw Alex and Sarah’s joy, and the sight of my two beautiful little girls, who looked (and I’m sure felt) as if they were princesses in a fairy tale. As for us, it was a bittersweet time...a paradox…the deep joy of witnessing a young couple’s union and seeing family, mixed with the sorrow of having to say “goodbye” yet again.

Life is a paradox. However, learning to live in, and embrace, the tension of conflicting emotions is a step toward a greater maturity. The paradox can produce bitterness and disillusionment…or…it can create in us a longing for the one true place our souls find rest. "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11:28-30)

Thank you again for your prayers! Please continue to pray for our children as they say their goodbyes over the next few days, and that they would find their hope in Jesus. Please pray for Heather as she finishes packing, and that her goodbyes would be deep and satisfying. Pray that our family is united in love for the glory of God’s kingdom. And pray that God would fill us with wisdom for every facet of this journey, and for safety along the way.

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