I would like to picture this phrase instead like the growth of a little, spotted, ugly cocoon. One that grows and transforms interactively with it's environment. One of a little caterpillar bumping and sliding along until it can safely attach somewhere. Then a transformation happens inside and eventually after a period a time the transformation becomes visible. After all, we do make decisions for our own future, right?! Who are we kidding? I chose to eat toast with peanut butter this morning. Several years ago, I wanted a graduate degree, so I went for it, worked hard and accomplished a dream.
I don't think we passively get planted in new places or jobs or situations unwittingly/unwillingly. (Maybe if you are in the military and you receive orders.) I wouldn't go so far as saying that we heard an audible voice from God telling us to move to Bolivia. There was no burning bush or cooing dove that appeared out of nowhere telling us what to do next. I think it has been a process of soul searching, discernment, of weighing pros/cons, and furthermore, seeking what the Holy Spirit is whispering to our hearts. Sometimes the process is a no-brainer and a sudden revelation like, "of course- why didn't we ever think of that before?!" Other times though, it can be a heart-wrenching, battle of gut and conviction that drags itself out like a bloodied, howling animal out in the middle of uncharted territory.
Our choice of ministry in Bolivia? Well, it has been a variety of both- at different times.
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Driving around Canada this summer has helped us feel like we really were there to savour each mountain crag, lush valley, peach orchard, and fluorescent canola field.
We've tasted the sweetest fruits in season, grilled salmon and steaks with family and friends in celebration of missed Christmases, Anniversaries and Birthdays. We even had a big UN-Birthday party in California for everyone's missed birthdays. Now, we are working off the extra pounds we gained from all the feasting! =)
We've seen old friends from previous chapters in life, all of us graying a bit and a bit more sober in the wake of life's challenges. We've watched Abbi and Sophia reach huge milestones as young ladies. We've had to relax our grip as parents and say goodbye to them both for another long stretch. This one will be until Christmas. Isabella has kept us entertained in the car with her playlists, stories and frantic bathroom stops!!
In terms of our work this summer, we've had many new locations and congregations to share what keeps us busy and inspired in Bolivia. This has ended up being a real highlight for us (exhausting too) because we now feel like we are sharing and included in a vision for sharing the Gospel and making a global impact.
We are jumping back into the lives of our friends here in Bolivia while bidding "hasta luego" to family and friends back home. Yes, it IS bittersweet.
We can't help but feel grateful for all the ways we have seen God at work in us, in our children, in preparing the way for us and in provision at every turn. Are we growing where we've been planted and where we've been planting? I have to say yes. Is it obvious growth? Not always. Is it rapid, vine-like, overnight growth? Absolutely NOT! By God's grace, we will one day see the results of labour and time. For now, we are rooted and built on the One who sustains and nurtures us to be more of who we are created to be: in mind, body and spirit. Thanks be to God!