Tuesday, January 1, 2008

where in the world did 2007 go?

Or perhaps I should say, Where in the world did I go in 2007? As the clock launches us into a new year, I find myself wondering, Where in the world will I go in 2008?

After spending Christmas week with my siblings and their families, I've traveled with my parents back to their home in Kansas. It's good to be here and to feel like it's the closest I've currently got to a physical home. Even though I didn't grow up in this house and don't know which kitchen cupboard holds glasses and which one holds bowls, at least the bowls and glasses inside the cupboards are the ones I grew up drinking and eating out of.

I've unpacked my clothes, and tomorrow I'll start sorting through files and bills and other fun things. Nothing like celebrating the arrival of a new year with file folders! Yippee!

This is a thick time of life. There's so much opportunity, yet so much to be done in order to capitalize on it. There are so many unknowns, yet I don't want to rush too quickly through to the other side of them, back into the known (though my life tends to linger mostly in the unknowns even when things are in order).

I'm glad for the short days this time of year and glad that we get to live in Advent and Epiphany during the dark, cold season, in contrast to my African friends. Somehow those conditions outdoors are good for cozy reflection and prayer indoors.

It's been good to be with family, to have them ask me about my travels, my impressions, my experiences. It's good to talk about it. Yet, I understand somewhat what some of my missionary friends in Africa said about how hard it is to explain things to people, how hard it is for people who've never been to Africa to understand stories about Africa. But I guess that's probably true of anywhere.

Now that I've reached a place I'll get to sit still in for a little while (though this month is sure to speed by faster than I was when I got my last speeding ticket ;-) ), I'm able to better feel the yearning to go back to Africa some day, more than once and hopefully sooner than later. But, it's not time yet, and I don't yet know what will be the particular context for my return trips.

These past months have taught me some good and important things about the vocation and calling God's made me for. But, pieces of those lessons are still a little unclear, dangling just out of reach, not quite grasp-able. I look forward to taking the steps to reach those dangling things.

One of the little things I can do in the aftermath of my Africa months is pray for and with new friends across the ocean. It's challenging to stay informed sometimes, but it helps when I get emails from folks in Kenya asking us to pray for their country. More than one of the countries I visited during my travels was gearing up, like the U.S., for presidential elections. Kenya is the first of those countries to hold their elections. Many were hopeful that Kenya could be a model for fair and peaceful elections and governmental transition. However, that hope hasn't been met positively. Please join our Kenyan brothers and sisters in praying for their country, for an end to the chaos that has erupted following the vote counting, for tribalism not to divide people, for truth and peace.

May 2008 be a year that God's grace and truth and mercy are newly absorbed by places and people that have dark histories.

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