This is a risky one to post but it captures a lot. I am posting with this disclaimer: Friends and family who want us back home, don’t get your hopes up…friends and colleagues who want us to stay, don’t despair. No decisions have been made. We are wrestling with these issues, praying fervently, and trying to discern.
From my journal on 11/29:
“you must not despise this first favor,…nor be disconsolate, even though you have not responded immediately to the Lord’s call; for His Majesty is quite prepared to wait for many days, and even years, especially when He sees we are persevering and have good desires”. –Saint Teresa of Avila
37 years on this earth, volunteering for 2 of them in Malawi, and I still don’t know what I’ll be when I grow up. I have felt the presence of the Holy Spirit more in the past 18 months than ever before in my life, and I don’t think that’s just recency effect. I feel it in worship. In travels and teaching. In the books I read on development and foreign aid. On the morning run with Vince as we discuss observations and experiences.
But sadly there are no flashing neon signs telling us if we should stay in Malawi or hang it up. There are no cloud patterns spelling out our course of direction. What exists are a bunch of mixed contradictory feelings. A desire to go home. Utter emotional and physical exhaustion. Beauty and serendipity. Doubt about our real value here. Sunsets over Kampala and dinner as a family every night. Work that has an impact. A church barely surviving and 92% dependent on donors who have their own needs and agendas. The familiar I will never forget and the unfamiliar I will never know. Returning to rejoicing family and friends. Leaving disconsolate friends and colleagues in Malawi. Is staying a misery sentence? Is leaving a recipe for regret?
What is the authentic response? The honest answer is I don’t know what the hell to do. Am I a failure if I leave? Am I adding value if i stay? Is this all justification and self interest?
The gift and the curse is a deeper understanding of mission, church, and culture.