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We arrived back in the bush a little while ago after taking a couple weeks’ break out at one of our mission centers (which was AWESOME!). After celebrating the holidays in a cooler climate, spending time with friends, and eating lots of meat and fresh veggies,* it was finally time to head back into the village for our “last hurrah.”
With the holidays over, we now find ourselves in that odd season where, because the next significant event in our lives is our departure, many of the more typical or mundane activities of life are tinged with a feeling of loss:
“This is one of the last helicopter rides we will probably ever have…”
“This one of the last times that I will make a fire in my garden house…”
“This is one of the last times that we will make smoothies from bananas we grew ourselves…”
Of course, those are some of the more romantic/sentimental examples of that genre of thinking. According a book we are reading, “The Art of Coming Home,”** our current eve-of-departure season of life is also often characterized by a “re-discovery” of some of the less-than-desirable areas of one’s host culture.
The psychology behind this is something along the lines of, “There were aspects of your host culture that would have driven you absolutely insane if you hadn’t forced your brain to accept them as ‘normal,’ but now that your brain knows that you are about to leave this culture, it is taking the opportunity to sound off loudly concerning its true feelings on these issues.”
So, while the rolling thunder of an incoming tropical storm might bring a wistful sigh of contentment,*** there are other daily events that are standing out in sharper contrast to us in a different sort of way:
“This is one of the last times that I will literally be sweating from the moment I wake up until (and after) the moment I go to bed at night!”
“This is one of the last times I will brush cockroach poop out of all the measuring cups so I can bake bread!”
“This is one of the last times that I will be asked to pull the placenta out of a young mother following a difficult birthing experience!”
Another thing that is different for our family since coming back into the bush is that we have finally told our villagers that our family will be leaving. Originally, we had hoped to wait and not break the news to them until after our co-workers joined us in here again, to help ease their sense of loss. Due to COVID-19 delaying our co-workers’ return, however, that proved untenable. Our departure date was getting too close to wait any longer.
To understate the issue, the Iski Bible teachers and the rest of the Iski church are not super OK with the idea of us leaving the work in a few months, nor are they resonating with the rationale that was used to make the decision. Actually, they are pretty devastated.
Yesterday, for example, one of my buddies came by and informed me that the reason I wasn’t seeing many people around the village was because I had “ruined their thinking” and they needed to get out of the village to try to process the news of our impending departure.****
So, there’s a little snapshot of where things are for our family right now. If you have a few minutes in your prayer time, we’d appreciate a few words said on our behalf, if you don’t mind. Specifically, we’re really wanting to get Tousches back over here without incident, and we’re definitely feeling the weirdness of having our thinking pulled so strongly by two very different contexts (the U.S. and the Iski), each with a legitimate claim to our attentions.
Also, concerning more “earthly things,” we have put together an Amazon list in case anyone is interested in tossing a few coins towards helping us square away our Stateside set-up. That’s all for now!
*Somehing we rarely get to do in the jungle.
**So far, this has been a terrific resource! We would highly recommend it for repatriating missionaries, as well as their families and church groups in the States.
***Storms cool things down for us here and fill up our water tank.
****Nothing says “happy memories” like getting labeled the village party-pooper for the last few months of your stay.