I have this new theory that this ‘grown up’ life is code for “lots of transition”. The first 18-ish years of my life might be the most everything-is-the-same years of my life. I think I got used to it and have been slightly caught off guard at how different each year post-college has been. This year is no different. In fact, 2014 has shown to be one of the most whirlwind years yet, and we’re only five months in!
A two-year calendar to give you a frame of reference:
– August 2012: we get married!
– October 2012: we move to Kajo Keji, South Sudan
– February 2013: we move to Juba, South Sudan
– July 2013: I go back to the States for three months
– October 2013: we come back to Juba, South Sudan
– December 2013: we get evacuated from conflict-torn South Sudan
– January 2014 – March 2014: we live in Kajo Keji (out of a backpack that we packed for the evacuation in December)
– March 2014: we visit our Juba house for the first time in months
– June 2014: we move back to the States………
Yes it is true! As of the end of June 2014, we’re going to be living Stateside. We were about to POP with excitement to tell our friends and family once we knew it was official, and our excitement has only increased as so many precious people have now shared in our giddiness of all living on the same continent again.
We’ve been asked questions as we’ve told people the news, and I’m a firm believer that if one person is asking, there are probably more who have the same question. If so, here you go:
Why are y’all moving back?
Biggest answer: we feel God is leading us elsewhere. We have been praying for months asking what might be ‘next’ for us, and we have seen confirmation that God is leading us back to the States. Neither of us believe that we’re finished with living internationally, but for now, we’re headed back to Texas. There are a lot of gifts and interests that Grant wants to cultivate and learn to increase his skillset both personally and professionally, and we long to do that within a healthy community. We moved to South Sudan together only six weeks after getting married and though we have cherished learning everything together, just the two of us, we are really, really excited to live life within a community of people. We are completely confident of God’s plan and His leading and are really excited to see what lies in this next step.
Where will y’all live and what will you be doing?
We are giddy (read: over-the-top, out of control, unbelievably excited!) because we’re headed to Pine Cove! We have been praying for months that God would open a door for us to live in Tyler, Texas and for Grant to be offered at job at Pine Cove. To our great delight, that’s exactly what happened! We were honestly surprised at the job that Grant accepted, but could not be more excited for the skills he will learn, the people he will work alongside, and the work community he will be a part of. As of the first week of August, Grant will be the Director of Recruiting for Pine Cove!! He will be responsible for leading the charge of the summer staff recruiting process for camp. Pine Cove hired 1,500 college staff from 37 states and 200 different universities for summer 2014, and is expecting that number to increase as years continue. Grant will have his work cut out for him! He’ll spend time networking with college/university ministries and campus pastors, speaking to different groups about the investment they could make at camp and how it can impact their own lives, working with amazing men and women within the PC network, and investing into both staff and students alike. As for what I will be doing, that is still unknown, but I’m hopeful to find a job somewhere in Tyler town. We have seen how we need balance in our lives, and to work in different places would help bring some balance as well as open our community to people outside of the PC world. I plan on being as involved in PC life as they let me😉 , but would love to be invested within town too. We’ll see where God opens a door. (Shameless plug, Tyler friends: anyone know of a fun job opening in town??)
How are y’all feeling about leaving South Sudan?
I responded to a friend’s text earlier by saying “I don’t know if I’ve ever felt such opposites so strongly at one time.” We honestly could not be more excited about every perk that comes with living in the States: living in amazing community, having an incredible job alongside even more incredible people, being close to family, experiencing four seasons (so maybe I’M really excited about that), having any food we want, using a washing machine, etc etc etc. But how do I accurately express the grief I have, we have, leaving these people who have become our family. We work with these men and women, they are our community, they are who we share meals with, laughter with, holidays with, they have become our family. To be raw, I cannot even process leaving Gloria, Agnes, and Jillian yet. Those girls are not our extended family; they are my sisters, my people. I will miss nothing more from life here than those three girls. I assume there will be full blog posts on the people and things we miss about life here once we’re back in the States and it all sinks in. As for now, the ‘strong opposites’ are very real and fully felt. We are overjoyed and completely heartbroken, all at the same time.
We fly out of East Africa on June 20th. We’ll be in the EAM office for a few weeks and then we’ll take a few weeks to rest, decompress, process, and prepare for this exciting new step. We’re planning on starting life in Tyler a couple of weeks Grant starts at PC in the beginning on August. Everything is happening so quickly. We are asking God for wisdom on how to end well here, as well as asking that He will prepare us to ‘reenter’ the States too. Everything is a process right now; it’s all a transition. We are taking it one day at a time, and are so thankful to follow a God who leads us in each day’s step.