November 3, 2015

Moving Back to the US

There hasn't been a blog post in a while, but we have actually been spending the last few months in the United States, after quite a scare with the health of one of our parents. It turned out to be good timing (if things like this can have good timing), in that the lease on the storefront where we host The Bridge and also our apartment were coming up. So two of us left as soon as possible while the other two stayed behind to finish packing our personal stuff and all the contents of The Bridge, move it into a couple different storage facilities (spare rooms at friends' houses), and take the next flight out.

We spent this "furlough" differently than the ones we'd had in the past. Instead of running from church to church several times a week and trying to replenish our stock of socks and underwear and food supplies on the days in between, we actually slowed down and stayed put. We went to one church (except for a few visits when we saw family members in other areas), settled in a bit there, and let the girls get involved in a youth group again. We heard sermons in English and sang songs we'd not heard yet. We went to a prayer retreat and sent the girls to church camp. We caught a couple of family reunions and saw people we usually didn't have time to visit with. We went to homeschool co-op and took SAT and PSAT tests. And we breathed a little.

Of course, during this time we lived with Ken's parents and got all up in their health situations, happy to be there in person rather than catch the details by phone or email. Ken was able to help his dad out at work, since his health has declined to the point that he's not really able to do it alone anymore. And as it got closer and closer to the time to take that return flight to Paraguay, it became more and more clear that God was moving us back to the United States. 

To be honest, I kinda had that feeling just before we got on the plane in Paraguay. I was standing in the kitchen, and I can't explain it, except that something inside me shifted. I have always had a sort of terror in Paraguay whenever anything big goes wrong, that this would be the thing that sent us back to the US. My accident, Ken's surgery, any one of my surgeries, you name it. I would get this heart-racing, nerve-killing dread of moving back to the US, like there was just no way our time in Paraguay could be over yet. And when we'd come "home" for furloughs in the past, I was fairly miserable. I spent the two months pining for Paraguay--the people, the ministry, the life there. I endured the furlough visits as part of what had to be done, but there was this pulling in my heart to get back to Paraguay ASAP.

Not this time.

That feeling in my kitchen was like a little snap, and then I just knew that something felt different, that there was no more dread and that could only mean one thing--God was preparing me for a change.

So I had an open mind but didn't really say anything for a billion reasons. Number one was that it wasn't something we were even talking about in our immediate family yet. Something we'd not considered at that point. The last thing we needed was to bring in a bunch of voices before we'd heard God's clearly enough to discern it. I also wanted to be sensitive to other people's feelings, and until I was sure, it didn't seem fair to mention it to extended family or friends as a possibility, just to say, "Well, sorry we got your hopes up, but we were just feeling things out and we were mistaken." Kinda cruel, especially to the grandparents. And, well, just like in the call to move to Paraguay, I wanted mu husband to hear it from God before he heard it from me. And he did.

We questioned Him. "Are you sure, God? This is a great time in the ministry! We worked for so many years to get The Bridge off the ground and funded, and now that it's running so well and has a great community built up, NOW?!" 

We questioned us. "Are we being fair? Are we considering all sides of this? Are we reading into every little thing and mistaking it for a sign from God?"

We questioned our mentors. "Does this make any sense to you? Why would God do this NOW?!"

Despite our reluctance, God got right to work confirming and reconfirming His will to the point that we could no longer deny that this was definitely what we should do.

We made the decision to hold off on a public announcement until we were able to go back to Paraguay and talk to the core group of The Bridge in person, explaining what's happening. Ken and Camille left last week to do just that.

They are there now, in Encarnacion, sorting through seven years worth of life in Paraguay, loving on our wonderful family protector (our dog, Niko) one last time, deciding what we will be able to fit into the suitcases they'll bring back, what can be sold, what will be given away. They are talking to people we've worked with in ministry and finding out what we can put in the hands of those continuing the work there, and saying goodbyes on behalf of our whole family to those who have become like family to us. They hope to be finished in the next couple of weeks and get back here, where we will begin the transition to American life.

We will live where we did before our move to Paraguay, in the upstate of South Carolina. There is much to do now, much that has changed. God has given us that peace that passes all understanding, in knowing that we are following His will, but there are still things that are, well, just difficult. Please pray for us as we make this move and adjust to a whole different sort of life. We're starting fresh, so Camille will be deciding where to go to college, Ken will be looking for a job that still allows him time to work with his dad, and Caroline and I will be finishing up her last years of high school. And we will be open to visiting churches that are interested in hearing what God did in the last few years in Paraguay--how he used some very ordinary people to carry out His extraordinary plan.

Thanks for following us on this journey the last seven years. 


  1. Sorry to hear this; I enjoyed reading your blogs; your daughters are probably quite fluent now in Paraguayan Spanish. Would they ever visit the country again? My best wishes,

    1. We all hope to be back on Paraguayan soil someday, and to be able to see the people we've come to love there again. The girls are actually better Spanish speakers than we are. They have a lovely accent and picked up the language much more quickly than their parents. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment!

  2. Oh boy! I can see that this was a hard decision, but easy once you realized how the Lord was leading. You will all continue to be in our prayers and please keep us posted on what is happening in PY and SC too! All the best and many hugs!!!


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