Yesterday was only one day, but in that day so many things happened. As I sat down to write this update, I really struggled with how to accurately and concisely describe our day. I realized it was impossible, so this post is going to be a little long. However for those who want just the facts here they are:
- We Found a house (pictures will follow next week). The house is so different from anywhere we have ever lived, so different.
- We met our host family: the pastor, his wife and their four daughters.
- We move next Tuesday – One week to move…let the serious packing and shopping begin!
Yesterday we experienced so many emotion. For those who want more detail, those emotions are the best way that I can think of to describe our day.
- Success – In one day we were able to find a house that meets our needs and is within walking distance of our host family. Praise God! We negotiated a price and are now preparing to move in next Tuesday.
- Encouragement – The whole day was completely accomplished all in French. We were both very encouraged to see our progress in language. We still have a long way to go, but we have also already come a long way.
- Uncertainty – The house we are moving to is very different from what we are used to. The house is comprised of separate rooms that all lead out to a common courtyard. It was difficult thinking about how we will arrange our house. One thing is for sure, it will take a lot of getting used.
- Discouragement – I had two wants going into this house search: hot water and an enclosed shaded area for the boys to play. Although the house meets all of our needs, it doesn’t have either of my wants. I have learned to live without either for 6 months, so I know I can survive. It was just a little discouraging.
- Confidence – It was so nice to have an African that we trusted working along side us in the process. We didn’t have to worry that we were being taken advantage of. It is very rare to have such confidence and so we are so grateful for our host family.
- Excitement – Our host family was so excited to have a family eager to learn from them and work with them. They proudly showed us around town to all the people and places they knew. It was exciting to have someone willing to take the time to help us learn.
- Stress – There are so many things that we have to take care of, most of which were already done for us when we moved to Africa. It is stressful to think about how this will happen, but I know somehow it will.
- Fear – We ate and drank everything that was put in front of us, whether we liked it or recognized it. It is very possible that we will pay for this later, but it is also just a reality of our life.
- Loss – This feeling overwhelmed a lot of the day. I came to realize how familiar life had become in our house and how devastating losing that familiarity was going to be for me and the boys. We are going to have to find a new routine, new ways to have fun and relax and a new familiarity with our surroundings. This will come with time, but it is a very difficult process. Perhaps this is the most difficult for people to understand, but with already giving up so many comforts, it is hard to let go of the comforts we have left.
- Confirmation – Although we know the coming months will be difficult, we are confident that this is the next step. That confidence will be very important during our struggles.
- Hope – In six months our house in Dakar has become a place that I am sad to leave. I am hopeful that in six months I will feel the same way about our new home.
- Exhaustion – Driving home Joel confessed that he was almost too tired to drive. It was so true. We were exhausted. Sending a day working entirely in French, experiencing so many emotions and also looking at the task ahead. We were and are still just beat.
The times in life when I am acutely aware of my need for God and his strength, are usually the times when I grow the most. I walked away from yesterday facing the reality of the transition ahead and the struggle that it will be for our whole family. It is a similar to the feeling I had when we first arrived in Africa. When I look back over the past 6 month I am amazed at what God has done and how he has shaped us all. I am confident that he will do the same thing again, but also that it will be difficult. It is times like this that I thank God for everyone who holding our ropes with prayer. My prayer right now is simple, God give us the the strength to keep walking forward.