Well, we did it. We lived through our first furlough. It was wonderful to be back in the states, surrounded by friends and family, experiencing the smells and tastes of holiday cooking that we have missed, seeing snow... I could go on and on. Furlough was a blessing, and we thank all of you that made us feel right at home and welcomed us with open arms. I feel encouraged and renewed.
But I feel that we came “home” last week to Arequipa. This is the place where our heart is right now. The United States and blood family will always give me a sense of “home,” but I think I have decided that home is where I have a routine, where I sleep in my own bed, where I have invested the most time currently in one-on-one intentional relationship interaction. For the time being, that is in Peru.
I will have to admit that Greg and I both felt a feeling of displacement in the states. It just didn’t feel like we belonged there for now. But when we returned last week I had some of those same feelings of displacement here in Peru. I wasn’t sure what to do with these feelings. Do I really belong here? Is this really home, or was I making all of it up? But what I have come to realize is that life went on without us, and that is a very good thing. Our teammates worked so hard to start or work on projects, relationships, continue studies. The Peruvians went about their lives and have new things to share with us. It is so encouraging to see all that God has done while we were back in the states.
Today was the first day that I felt like I had a sense of routine back. I met with a Christian sister and set up a weekly time to meet and pray together. I invited one of my neighbors over (a relationship I have had since living in our neighborhood) this afternoon. She is on break from university classes and wants to help me with library activities. We also set up a time to study on a weekly basis. Greg had his discipleship study with Manuela over coffee this afternoon and went to Porvenir for the Bible study this evening. Maggie waves and understands “hola” and “chau” when we greet Peruvians. Ana spouts out her Spanish to any of the Peruvians speaking to her.
Things are good. We are getting back into the groove. We have a lot of catching up to do on relationships, but that is what I love about our work. It is relationship-centered. Our team met this week to discuss goals and dreams for the new year. It was such an exciting meeting to be a part of. I wish all of our supporters could have sat in on it. We were so excited during furlough to share what great things God has done in the last two years. Now I am even more excited to see what he accomplishes in the next two. We are all pumped to see! It is good to be home.