Somehow we’ve been back in Australia for 4 months, and it has been a wonderful, restful, disruptive, precious time. Here’s a quick update in pictures of the last 4 months….
Kids – Riley and Liam have navigated the transition to a new school, with different curricula, language (“Mummy, what does dobbing mean?” “Liam, that means tattling…”), sports and a whole new culture. This has come with anticipation, homesickness, making new friends and deeply missing old ones. There have been both teary days of wanting to go “home” to Kijabe, and 9/10 days of joy and excitement. We are grateful that they are having the opportunity to learn to swim, play Aussie rules footy and gymnastics, and to continue their learning of piano and drums. Their teachers and pastoral care team continue to be a source of encouragement and support for which we couldn’t be more grateful. We have settled into our temporary home and life has taken on a sense of daily routine and stability.
Mardi – I am somehow 40% of the way through my MBA, and have just been soaking in new understanding of the strategic, financial and leadership underpinnings of running an institution and industry. It is exciting and overwhelming to have a broader understanding of healthcare for the underserved and what could be done to improve it – the next few months will include a lot of synthesis as to what I want to focus on next. I am learning as much from my classmates as from the lectures and projects, as CEOs, bankers, miners, strategists and more become not just colleagues but friends.
Andy – Andy is working on the final component of his Master of Divinity – a thesis on Paul’s approach to the gospel and a deeper understanding of salvation, under the guidance of some incredible faculty at the University of Divinity. His role at New Sight Congo has transitioned from primary project manager to team adviser as he continues to work on strengthening the rigour and governance of project delivery. He continues to liaise with several organisations in East Africa about project delivery in the medical mission setting with skype calls and ongoing connection.
Connection – after a couple of months of stepping back from ministry, we have started to reconnect with the precious individuals and partner churches who have been an indispensible part of our time in Kijabe. We have preached at our Adelaide home church Southland and ministered at Copper Coast Baptist in Wallaroo on the Yorke Peninsula, we’ve shared on the radio, at my old workplace MedSTAR kids and at the kids’ school. In addition to coffees and dinners with individuals and families who have walked alongside us, the calendar is rapidly filling up with upcoming committments in South Australia and the US.
Rest and recovery – we have enjoyed having space as a family. To ride bikes, to explore rural South Australia. To discover echidnas and sea lions, to play board games. To drive after dark on safe roads, to suddenly go to the beach without months of planning. To chat through the last 6 years of ministry with friends and counsellors, to ponder and be grateful as we look back, to process and learn as we consider the last few years of life. We look back at almost 19 years of marriage, 10 years of parenting and 3 countries of residence, and marvel at the journey that we have been on, and look ahead with anticipation to what’s next.
We leave for the US on December 18 to connect with family and partners in Michigan and Florida, and we look forward to seeing many of you. We are praying for a white Christmas, as this is currently the single thing Liam and Riley want for Christmas!
Thank you for your faithful support and encouragement as we take this crucial sabbatical year, no matter which country you are reading this from. As we settle in and simultaneously keep moving, we are constantly reminded that home, rather than a concrete place, is where each other is and where we are right now.