life in africaAs with most new ventures, life has unfolded quite differently here than we expected. Throughout all of our preparation to move to Kenya, we tried to be intentional about not setting expectations or even setting hopes of what it would be like. We tried to stay completely open minded so that we could receive this new life fully and freely. Well, in hindsight I of course, remembered that this just isn’t realistic! The human brain needs to formulate some kind of framework around the environment that it’s about to walk into. It can be adjusted once there, but the brain needs to have a picture of some sort of where it’s headed.

As we threw our plane ticket receipts away, put our luggage up in storage, set up our internet to do our first FaceTime calls back to family and friends, we looked around and knew things were going to be very different. No matter how careful we had been to keep an open mind, we couldn’t help but have our own thoughts, ideas, wishes, and fears about what the future held. As we looked around, we knew that all of those were about to be stretched, tugged and twisted, in ways we couldn’t imagine. While we knew that we’d eventually need to let them all go, we realized that it was ok to have them. Not just so that the brain could wrap itself around this crazy idea of moving to another country, but ultimately to create a framework in which the context of this new life could filter through.

If we don’t wish for something specific, then when the Lord fulfills that wish in an unexpected way (as He so often does), we would never take special notice of that, or recognize the unique gift of unexpected surprises. If we don’t fear something, then when the time comes to face that fear, we would never realize that we were in fact, strong enough to face it (which can be a very powerful lesson). If we don’t face that fear, we may never truly realize that God didn’t in fact, wave to us from the boarding gate and say, “Thanks for serving Me kids, you’re on your own,” but is a faithful Companion. If we don’t have wishes, then when in the fog of cultural adaptation, God gives us a secret desire of our heart that only He knows about, we would never fully understand the depth, height and width of the love of our heavenly Father, or the important lesson that ALL matters of our heart…matter.

Thoughts, ideas, fears, wishes…the soul’s framework in which to discover the endless surprises, challenges and mysteries of the Call; and the framework to discover the endless attention to detail, love and provision of the One who calls.

The stories to come, are our journey through discovering this…enjoy.

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