Thursday, January 11, 2018

We moved to Sweden!

An important page from my passport

December 7th 2017.
We left Mozambique
There were tears and hugs and lots of luggage and lots of notes about who will take what where and how all of our Earthly possessions have been dispersed. We have very good friends who we trust. We also depend on each other when things get tough or weird or even exciting! I love you guys. You are Jesus' hands weather you know it or not. 

December 10th 2017. 
We arrived in AMERICA!!!
There were hugs and tears and all that luggage! We spent Christmas with my family in Birmingham AL area. Cousins were reacquainted. Sisters were reunited. Brothers-in-law were reminded how it feels to watch the flurry of activity created by the addition of the 1st sister and family to the bunch. It was a wonderful stop and just what we needed. We took the kids away from Grandma's house as little people 5 years ago. They are now full-fledged teenagers and all bigger than Grandma. It was too long to be apart. It was a choice we made to ensure that the Nyungwe New Testament wasn't delayed. Most of our sacrifices are small and involve some physical discomfort in the moment. Pulling kids away from family doesn't hurt very much... until you come back. Then it hits so hard that there aren't words. Love covers all and God's grace is indescribable. 

December 28th 2017. 
We arrived in SWEDEN!!!
In the dark of night on a frozen plane, we landed in Gothenburg into the arms of family once again. We are rich to have such love to receive us and send us off again on each trip. We left Sweden in August of 2013. Our children last went to school in Sweden in 2009! They are in for a real treat this year! They have grown up and thrived in our African homes and schools. They have been surrounded by others who "don't belong" quite where they are.. and as such, they have found a sense of belonging among those like them. Now they are stepping into Swedish schools... as internationally-born Swedes. 

We look forward to finding our place here.
We look forward to meeting old friends here and there.
We look forward to knowing NEW friends in this year we will spend on Mjölmossevägen in the middle of Sweden. Welcome to get in touch if you are in the neighborhood! I've got some Mozambican coffee to share, if you do!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Take a breath... and another...

Usually at this time of my "leavings" I am becoming more and more irritated by my current country and culture. I remember times of temperamental impatience as someone took too long to find a price for my can of tomatoes... or a car managed to perform a particularly common irrational moving violation in my immediate vicinity... or a beggar asked just one more time...

I've not felt that this time. This last time. I am more filled with understanding and nostalgia. I'm much more gracious than usual. This can only be the grace of God, I think, as I pack another box and say another goodbye. Tears are always close. I well up at the slightest inclination... crossing the Zambezi at sunset... waiting for cows to get out of the road... sweating in the heat as the kids come out of the school... remembering him or her or those other ones.

I sigh a lot. I've heard it is good for you. I hate crying, but my grandma warned me it gets worse with age. I'm proving her right. I wondered how I'd get through this last year of last times for everything familiar. I've had the luxury of time to sort my past and make peace with my future. There is so much to look forward to, but for now I am soaking up a present.  My present is filled with letting go and holding on in just the right measure. I question if I need what I'm keeping or if it is too extravagant of a treasure (a $20 red cupboard I bought on a roadside in Zimbabwe for my first child). Is the "lembrança" (memento) for my friend appropriate? It is something... sometimes too much and sometimes not enough.

I think I'm worried about being judged about leaving well. People are so kind and speak such sweet things to my heart. "Maybe you will come back to work on another project," they quip hopefully. "We will miss you," some remark dutifully. Will they think I've been unfair? I hope not. I really hope not.

Today I bought birthday cakes at a Black Friday sale for the preemie twins who've turned 12 and I missed two birthdays. I'll drop them off on my way to the airport to pick up my kiddos and Mikael. He left today to pick them up in the northern town where a direct flight brings them. On my way from the airport, I let some friends test drive our car. Once home, I cringed at my son's cough... the timing of the flu is really terrible and I pray it will just stop. Then I roasted tiny butternuts that were the closest thing I found to pumpkin for the welcome home/Thanksgiving pie for tomorrow's arrival. As I write, I pray. This is their last night at boarding school where they have made a home away from home with friends from everywhere who they may or may not meet again.Yes, I cry for them. They have to leave somewhere, too.

It's time for bed. I'll schedule this to post after they are safely home and we are all together here again for just a little while. A gift of present where we can breathe and sort out another step in our way ahead. Take a breath... say a prayer... and another...

Friday, November 3, 2017

Let me in... written last year before Thanksgiving and never posted.

I know it is hard to accept that you might be the answer to a big problem.
I know it is hard when I am the answer to a need bigger than I can meet alone.

Before you reject a Syrian neighbor, I suggest you meet a person who is from another home than yours. I suggest you consider what it means to be hopeful that you can start somewhere safe. What is it like to leave everything crushed behind you. People you knew and cared about are just gone...

Then you show up in the "Land of the Free and Home of the Brave" and find the doors locked and the neighbors trembling because you are there and you are different. You long for safety and you are stared at from behind closed doors. You look different. It is hard to communicate. You don't know anyone. They don't want to know you.

I am grieving here in Mozambique, far away from my homeland. I see post after post shared by people I love declaring they have no place for Syrian resettlement. They "hate Obama" and they stand baring arms to protect themselves against the invasion of foreign customs and languages.

Please Stop. Why are you so afraid? Have you thought about it? They haven't come here to take anything away from you. You are listening to the same news feed 24/7 about danger and hatred and fear and possible terrorists. You are locked in your room watching the world burn.

Open your door. Get into one of your cars. Meet someone new and different. Love them. You will find they are just like you. I promise. They are human. They don't bite and curse America. They don't want to change your country into something like the one they left. They want to know what it means to be an American. Don't rob them of knowing what the REAL America is like.

Invite someone to Thanksgiving in your home... they will learn your reason for thankfulness.
Offer to help someone practice English... they will learn your accent!
Risk feeling awkward and not knowing what to say or do. It is ok. You will live.