- It doesn't seem possible that we were actually gone for almost a year.
- It doesn't seem possible that just 18 days ago we were with our Dominican friends.
- It doesn't seem possible that we learned how to speak and understand Spanish.
- It doesn't seem possible that our children are now 13 and (almost) 11 years old.
- It doesn't seem possible that our mission in the Dominican Republic is over.
And yet, all of those things are true and are real.
We get asked all the time about how the transition back to life in America has been.
Are we settled in yet?
Are we used to the pace here?
Do we feel at home yet?
The answer to all of those questions is a confident, "I don't know." Coming back home after serving in the Dominican Republic for almost a year has given us some emotional turbulence.
On the one hand, we're excited to be back home. On the other hand, we really miss the people in the DR.
One the one hand, we're looking forward to what's next. On the other hand, it feels strange not being part of what was happening for the past year.
On the one hand, we're American and we belong here. On the other hand, we became part of the community in our little town of Guanabano.
We haven't felt a huge amount of culture shock after being away for a year. We still feel like we understand the U.S. culture and we were prepared for the differences before we got here. The bigger adjustment has been the pace and rhythm of our lives. We were busy and active during our year in the Dominican Republic. However, much of the activity was ministry-based. Now that we're back home and in a transition period, we're still very busy and active, but most of what we're doing is not ministry-focused. Most of it is social or personal activity. That may not seem like a huge difference, but it sure feels huge to us!
During our first few weeks home we've also encountered some of the realities of life in a more affluent society. Many things are much more expensive here, and we've been hit with some hefty unexpected expenses. We trust God to provide for all of our needs - He always has - but finances can cause a lot of stress.
Our bodies are still adjusting to the changes as well. Our diet has changed dramatically, and for the most part we haven't had many problems. Some foods, however, have not agreed with our stomachs and have caused some problems. This past week we ended up in the Emergency Room where we found out Katie has a kidney stone. We think the stone has already passed (praise God) but that was a traumatic experience for her and for all of us. Not to mention the cost of visiting an Emergency Room in this country! (We made one ER visit in the Dominican Republic and it cost about $15)
We're very appreciative and thankful for all of you and the support you've poured into our lives this past year. We cherish your prayers and your encouragement. So, we're going to make one more request of our Hands & Feet Support Team. Would you please pray for us in the following ways?
- Spiritual renewal. Moving from a season of so much purpose into a season designed for us to take a break has been difficult. Many times we feel spiritually dry and without purpose. We know this time is important and we want to soak up everything our Heavenly Father has for us.
- Freedom from worry. It's easy to get overwhelmed by the worries of life, especially when you're feeling spiritually dry. We want to hand over all our anxieties to God and trust Him with each day.
- Protection from spiritual attack. When we're tired, anxious, down or bored we become an easy target for the enemy. We want to keep our guard up, but also to be confident that the battle belongs to the Lord!
Thank you so much for your prayers! We've also got a couple physical needs we'd like to share with you. We're not necessarily looking for any of you to meet these needs (unless God leads you in that direction), but we would love for you to ask around your circle of family, friends and acquaintances:
1. We need a used, reliable, cheap car. Dan starts work with Transformation Ministries on September 8 and will need a vehicle. We're in the market for something in the $1,000-1,500 range. (I wasn't kidding when I said cheap!)
2. We want to find a new home for our cat. Jack is a gentle, cuddly cat. He loves to be both inside and outside. We've learned that we aren't really cat people and we're slightly allergic. We hope we can find him a good home with people who love him.
Please let us know if you've got any leads on either of these two things. As always, we love you all very much and we're so thankful for all of you!