2 1/2 years ago, we moved out of our little red house in the woods, bought a van, named it Noah, packed it full, and drove from Nine Mile Falls, WA, to Roach, MO, with a 18-month-old Judah in the backseat and a watermelon-sized Elias in the womb.
And now we’re packing up all our stuff again to make our way back in just a few days after having finished our time here at the Missionary Training Center. The boys have had a paper-chain-countdown to anticipate the days until we leave for Spokane (Judah keeps asking to rip off 2 papers a day, thinking it will cause our day of departure to come sooner…I’m pretty sure Nana put that idea in his head!), and they are very much excited to get to watch lots of movies in the car, to see Nana and Papa’s biiiiiiiiiiig Christmas tree, to see all their cousins, and to go to their “new house.” They have also been very eager to “help” John take things apart or off the wall. My little “fix-it-Maenner,” as they call it.
As we originally had only planned to be in Missouri for 1 1/2 years, we feel more than ready to close this chapter of our lives, as wonderful and maturing as it was. If you’re confused why we would choose to stay in a place called Roach for such a long time, let me enlighten you:
– We took the 3 semester course in Cross-Cultural Church Planting
– Then I (Asmara) took the additional training in Linguistics, which was another 1 1/2 semesters
– Then John finished it up with a 6-week course in Biblical Greek
Tadaaa! There go 2 1/2 years. We feel like different people than when we started the training. We are now parenting two boys instead of one. We are approaching 10 years of marriage. We have tasted and seen glimpses of the hardships of goodbyes and transitions. We now have a much deeper grasp of the whole weight of the Great Commission. We have grown in our understanding of discipleship. We have matured as individuals in so many ways. We have developed friendships and relationships with people we are so connected with because of our shared purpose and faith. We have met some of the most amazing people, couples, and families we have ever known. We have been blown away by the Lord’s provision and faithfulness toward us.
To top it all off and to make this new phase in life that’s coming up MUCH more real, we had very special visitors who came to see us for 4 days, the Sharpes! This precious family is planning on going to Tanzania at the same time we are and we all enjoyed spending time together, seeing our combined 5 kids (all 3 years and under) play and laugh (between arguments and yells of “Noooo!”), planning for our big move to another country, and just getting to know each other a bit better as we are hoping to spend quite a bit of time together once we’re on African soil.
As the boys’ train books always say: All aboard and off we go!
So here we go onto the next chapter on this train ride called life. Choo Choo!