Over Time

If you have been receiving our newsletter these past months you know that Team Arequipa is in the middle of transition. By the end of the year four new families will have arrived in Arequipa to join the work. By next summer two families will have left to return to the US and a short time later a third family will return to Australia. So, you see, change is in the air all around us.
We all know that change isn’t easy. We have a mix of families at the beginning, the middle, and the end of their time in Arequipa. People are going through the rigors of language and culture acquisition while others are selling off furniture and preparing for a move back to a (foreign) homeland. It is an interesting time for me, getting to watch new missionaries go through some of the same things that we did six years ago, helping them out where I can and letting them struggle through language deficiencies and cultural aggravations. At the same time I’m getting ready to watch the McKinzies leave the field in early January. We’ve been on a journey together for at least 10 years now, and we are about to part ways.  Through it all I see God’s faithfulness to us, to all of us as a team, through long years of preparation and service.
I had a conversation the other day with a friend here, one of those hard-but-good conversations.  As we talked over coffee about the work we’ve done together the last few years we lamented the mistakes (and man, have there been a lot of those), we celebrated the (often small) victories and we talked about the future. I listened while feelings were shared, sadness at the McKinzies’ upcoming departure and of ours to come not long after, sadness at the thought of missing us and our families, concern for the future of the church and NGO, and other things. I listened as stories were told of past missionaries coming and going and how the distance changes things.  How promises of continued connection mean very little if not fulfilled through purposeful action. I left that conversation uplifted by a great friendship, saddened at the long road to good-bye still ahead of me, and in the end grateful for all God has done these six years in Arequipa.