2018 – What a Year

2018 – What a Year

This is where I start.

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A year ago today was my last full day of work with Verizon. After twenty-one years with the company, God had decided it was time for me to go in a new direction. And what a completely different direction it was!

In quick summary, we made the decision to go into the mission field, helped my mother-in-law move from our house to her new place in Alabama, visited the children’s home we’d be serving, got our house ready to be listed for sale, got rid of the last of our furniture, moved to Georgia, I almost died (slight hyperbole), I completed a solo site visit to the D.R., we finally sold our house, we spent most of June saying goodbye to everyone, and we moved to the D.R. in July. (A recap of our first two months in D.R. can be found here.)

2018 also saw me be ordained by my home church (Relevant Church) in Tampa, and had me mourning the passing of my aunt in Miami and my uncle in Puebla, Mexico. Lee and I were also blessed to be able to come home in September for her nephew’s wedding and to catch up with family and friends.

But then things went proverbially sideways with our mission life in the D.R., and after much soul-searching and wrestling with God, we made the decision to resign and come home.

It was four weeks ago today we boarded a flight to come back to the States. It’s been a whirlwind, to say the least, since we’ve returned. Reconnecting with family and friends has been good for our souls, and there is the deilghtful, romantic notion of living like gypsies, bouncing among AirBNB’s and guest rooms at friends’ homes. But my heart still hurts from experiencing a dream die and having to say goodbye to so many people that I came to love so much.

I keep mentioning in conversations with others that Lee and I failed as missionaries. Even though we did a lot of good work in the five brief months we lived in Samaná, the fact we are no longer there is, in my opinion, indicative of the fact we did not succeed in realizing our dream. Yet I know we can only grow from this experience and use what we’ve learned to do bigger and better things in the next chapter of our lives. I am very much leaning on the wise words of Ray Dalio:

Having stepped out in obedience by selling everything and going into the mission field has us now in a very unique place to be very flexible for whatever – and wherever – God has in store for us. We don’t know what that is. Lee and I are praying an opportunity in ministry will present itself, but as of right now we remain proverbially homeless and unemployed.

Still, we know God will provide as He did through every day and every event of this past year. We are not worried. We are not panicked. We are confident because we worship a faithful and loving God. And as I mentioned in the closing of my Facebook post from last year: God is Great!

“Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.”Romans 12:12 NLT

Gratis

Gratis

Today was a heck of a day. We had to get what was left of our personal items out of the garage before we close on the sale of our house tomorrow morning.

When Lee and I arrived last night from Georgia, the task seemed very doable. After all, we had all day to do it. When we woke up this morning, it felt quite overwhelming.

But God delivered. After posting on a neighborhood website that everything must go, we had several people from in and around the community show up and help. One woman took a literal truck load of items, and it was such a blessing to give all these items away.

I think the microcosm of the lesson God had me learn through all this was evident with the collection of Coca Cola commemorative 6-packs I had, some for decades. When we first started the downsizing process, I thought I’d make a pretty penny off that collection. As time passed and no offers came in, I figured I’d try selling them at a later date. Today, I just had to laugh as I saw a complete stranger walk off with all of them for free. The thing is, he was doing me a favor. Also, He was doing me a favor by reminding me to stop focusing on stuff and keep focusing on Him.

We were in need and the Lord delivered a solution. We marched all night, and the Lord delivered victory. And you just can’t put a pricetag on that.

So Joshua came upon them suddenly by marching all night from Gilgal.
Joshua 10:9 NASB

Underway

Our prayer is to move to the Dominican Republic on July 1. As of right now, everything is on track for us to meet that date. As a result, Lee and I begin the packing process in earnest. From sorting among piles for store, ship, donate, and trash, we began getting everything in order for this next chapter in our lives.

It’s getting more and more real every day. #YayGod

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Slightly Off The Level

Slightly Off The Level

Where DOES the time go?

It’s been a great week since Lee and I moved (temporarily) to Hahira, Georgia. It’s also been a busy week filled with unpacking, sorting, organizing, trashing, analyzing, re-sorting, and resting. Lee and I have basically everything we own in one tiny space, and every day has been an exercise in trying to make it all work while we live in this interim experience. Needless to say, the daily blogging has fallen by the wayside.

Calendar Marks

So in an act of self-aware rule breaking, I am using the post to cover our first week here in south Georgia. I hope to get my schedule back on track going forward.

Oscar Mike

Oscar Mike

Today was move out day. Although it’s not our final day in our home, the house is, for all intents and purposes, vacant.

We made it to Hahira and began the unloading process. Now we’ll spend the next two weeks unpacking, sorting, throwing away/gifting, and re-packing as we prepare for our move to the Dominican Republic.

 

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Full truck in Tampa (1:00 PM), empty trich in Hahira (7:30 PM)

 

St. Packer’s Day

St. Packer’s Day

It’s a good thing I’m not Irish because this St. Patty’s Day came and went without so much as a horrible Irish accent being attempted. No beer was had, no green was worn.

While Lee spent the day cleaning, I spent most of the day packing our sixteen-foot moving truck. As I did at the end of February, I had to go into full Tetris mode to get basically everything we own into the truck. Thankfully, we have no more furniture, so all we’ve packed are our clothes, household items, electronics, artwork, etc. to take to Georgia for sorting and storing. It’s a blessing to have friends who will open their home to us and allow us to use their property as storage-central while Lee and I are on mission.

But seriously, how did we end up with so much stuff?

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An Empty Space

An Empty Space

Our realtor came by today to take pictures of the house. As a result, we had to have all the rooms cleared out for the photos. Now that he’s gone, there’s a surreal emptiness in our home.

Lee and I are really excited to move to the D.R. and start this new chapter in our lives, but there’s something nostalgically sad about leaving this house in which so many memories were made. Each vacant room is a reminder of a time in which we saw my kids grow and mature, my relationship with my mother-in-law flourish and strengthen, and my wife and I create memory upon memory with our family and friends.

I am going to miss this house, but I know it was a blessing from God and He’s asking us to give it back so He can bless us some more. Still, it’s not entirely easy, and I find myself shedding a tear as the reality of this chapter closing continues to set in.