A missionary, or any expatriate for that matter, will always have the task of living and working where they’ve created their home and maintaining the friendships and family who live elsewhere. It’s a balance, but one to which we all adapt.
The tension of that balance always changes, just a bit, whenever a furlough is coming up or ending or when one is leaving the field. One has to be careful to not allow preparations for the trip/change to cause one to disconnect earlier than they should.
I’ll confess, we were so busy at the end of our furlough – packing trunks, the kids finishing their semester at school, Josiah wrestling for school, a trip to Portugal, celebrating birthdays, a final visit with our church in Wood River, celebrating Christmas early and multiple other things that I even commented to my mom that our busy-ness was covering over the emotion of saying good-bye.
But now we’re back in Nampula. We’ve been home for 3 weeks and 3 days. The trunks we carried over with us are unpacked, gifts have been given, the kids are back in school and Dan is teaching. It’s all rather normal.
And yet . . . because we are transitioning to Portugal it’s not normal.
I just unpacked and yet now I’m entering the sorting and packing stage again.
- I’m putting some books on the shelves and putting others in boxes to send to Portugal.
- We’re pulling out toys obtained on furlough and deciding what old toys we will not take with us.
- We purchased a new washing machine (since ours broke) but are pricing the furniture we’re going to sell.
Our kids have embraced their pets but we’ve discovered the two we’d hoped to take with us can’t go afterall and therefore have discussed who could be their new owners when we have to give them up. Our doberman who we didn’t plan to take has already gone to his new home.
We’re preparing the paperwork we need to apply for our residence visas in Portugal but also have to renew our residence visas for Mozambique.
It’s a balance. To fully engage with our lives and friends and relationships here while preparing for the transition. To not let the work or anticipation of that transition distract us from living and working here.
Trusting for the grace to maintain the balance!