Can it be just two weeks before I leave Kenya? Time is flying by, and my emotions are running wild. Yesterday they had the Staff Farewell Tea after school, saying goodbye to all the staff that are leaving at the end of the term. Quite a few are leaving for a home assignment, and will be back in a couple of months, or a year. But I know I’m leaving for good. And I bawled like a baby when my best friend and former housemate, John, read a tribute to me. 20 years on staff, and 35 years living here in Kenya.
I’m in the midst of the “lasts”. I’ve tried desperately to NOT be that person that mourns publicly about “This is the last time I’ll be doing . . .” over and over again. Sometimes I want to block Facebook posts from those kind of people. But it is emotional. Last weekend was the last 6th grade Sunday School. This weekend is the last Caring Community with the 7th grade boys (Friday night), our last real Class Sponsor event, there’s technically one more but we really don’t do anything except sign yearbooks, (Saturday night), and the last Jr. High ROCK youth group (Sunday night).
The family that is going to take my cat came up to visit her the other night. After they left I thought, “May be I should take Enda back to the US.” But she’s an Africa cat, and the family that will be taking her is a good family, two young kids that will love on her well.
The house is getting more and more empty. Nothing in any of the top shelves anymore and not much on the lower shelves either, all the books are gone, the satellite TV subscription canceled, emptying the drawers of stuff, selling whatever I can, and giving away anything that I can’t. I now have one picture still on the wall. The other day I was in Nairobi working on my schooling, and thought to myself, “I don’t know if I have enough toilet paper to last the three weeks.” So I bought some. 4 rolls. 4 rolls of toilet paper. Usually I buy it in a bale of 50 rolls.
To top off the emotional roller coaster, one of my fellow teachers had Toto’s “I Miss The Rains Down in Africa” playing in her classroom. RVA’s choir sings that every year at graduation, and I always cry. More so this year, I’m sure, and there must be dust floating around because even as I write this, I’m tearing up. Yep, must be the dust in the air.
Transition is hard. I’m here. I’ve got two week left. I still have teaching to do, still have tests to give and grade, still have activities I’m in charge of and involved in, still have items in my house that I need to get rid of. I have noticed that when I sit in meetings now, and someone says the words, “Next year we’ll . . .” Click. There goes my brain turning off. It’s a struggle to finish strong.
And yet, I’m also there, getting ready for the next challenge. I’m working on figuring out what I need to do in the week and a bit I’ll be in Pennsylvania. I’m working on figuring out what I need to do to move to North Carolina. How do I get the couch down there? How do I put the water bill in my new rental house into my name? How do I get internet, phone, transfer drivers licenses, car titles, and all that other stuff? Then August 1 I start the new job with new staff orientation. And it’s scary.
Please don’t get me wrong. I’m looking forward to the next challenge that God has in store for me. I have no doubt that this transition is in God’s will and with his timing. From getting the job, finding a house, getting a car, getting furniture and everything that has happened, there is no doubt in my mind that God’s hand has been involved in it.
Transition is hard. I have no idea how people who don’t believe in a faithful God could do this.
I guess I should also bring up one “housekeeping” item. Financial support. How can I express gratitude for so many of you that have supported me financially for 20 years? Many of you, when I came to your church 20 years ago and asked if you would support me, even though I didn’t know for how long, said, “We’ll support you until you decide to not be a missionary.” Well that time has come.
If you send money directly to Africa Inland Mission, I’m asking that you please continue supporting me until the end of October. Due to health insurance issues, I’ll still be considered a missionary on home assignment until then. Starting November 1, I will be going inactive with the mission, so won’t require any support after that.
If you send money to the EC Global Ministries, I believe Pat Strain has already been in contact with you about what to do. The denomination has collected a 3-month support buffer that will cover August, September and October, so I’m requesting that you end the financial support with your July gift.
Oops, that’s not what I meant to say. What I meant to say was after July (EC) or October (AIM), please take what you are sending to me for financial support and send it to some other missionary or organization. I have been blessed with a group of people and churches who have believed in my ministry and the ministry of RVA for so many years. But now it’s time to believe in other peoples ministry and support them the way you have so faithfully supported me.
Here’s a couple of prayer requests to lift before the throne.
- Transition. Not only for me, but for other staff members, and the entire Senior class. There are a lot of tears flowing on campus right now. Good tears, but tears none-the-less.
- Pray that my very short time in Pennsylvania with family will be great.
- Pray that the move to NC will go as smoothly as possible.