Friday, September 7, 2012

The past few months...

 I'm far worse at this whole "keeping people posted on what's happening while living in another country" thing than I ever thought I would be, but here's my attempt at encapsulating the comings and goings of recent months:

This summer was kinda interesting as it was split between the US and East Africa; I think most of you know I was back in the states for the months of May and June. My time stateside included three weddings (two of the newly-wedded being my brothers); catching up with old friends; time in Martinsville with my family, Winchester and Lancaster with grandparents, and Philadelphia with my wonderful friends and church family there; a camping trip; a family reunion; lots of time spent creating and making jewelry; and attempting to partake in most of the foods I miss while I’m here, which lead to having brunch at a great café in Philly and ordering something called “The Kitchen Sink”. :-) After dealing with some big challenges and experiencing much loneliness during my December-May term here at COH, those 2 months in the US were very rejuvenating, life-giving, and joyful. Suffice it to say, I have been very blessed with an incredible family and friends in lots of different places.

While “summer” doesn’t have much bearing on the weather here (actually it tends to be colder in the June, July, and August due to the rains), it does mean that the season of large teams of people coming in and out of the City of Hope is upon us. It’s been an eventful summer, to say the least. The clinic at COH opened back in February after standing empty for years, and our new medical director, Ty Hopkins, was primarily the catalyst to make that happen. After heading back to the US for about 5 months, Ty returned for 2 months this summer with his wife Joi, two kids, and a team of 15 medical and nursing students who were all coming to take part in a class Ty taught called “Foundations of Health and Development” (FHD). The class was aimed at students who are considering becoming medical missionaries, and focused on a holistic, Biblical view of health, learning about the culture, and determining the root of so many systemic problems here.

In addition to the team of med students, we also had 3 summer interns, several longer-term young people, and various short-term teams coming and going. I think the largest count for people eating together in the mission house was 38 in July, but fortunately that was only for a few days. :-) Towards the end of August we hosted a team of nursing students from Duke University here, who made their exit along with the Hopkins family and the remaining members of the FHD team. Though it has been a great summer, I’ve been relishing having my own room again, a quieter house, and some quality time with the other 3 girls who are remaining here: Brittany (a nurse who’s staying til mid-Sept.), Angie (recent high school grad staying into Dec.), and my cousin Tenzi, who will be here for a year.  

After much thought and prayer, I’ve decided that I will be leaving the City of Hope in mid-October, one month after my two-year term is completed. I’m planning on doing some traveling to the Mt. Kilimanjaro region (Arusha and Moshi), and possibly elsewhere, and then returning to the states around the end of Oct. or beginning of Nov. At this point I’m not entirely sure how long I’ll be in the US, at least until January, but I really feel I need to spend more time with the people whom are both very dear to me and influential in my life as I consider what’s next. I also plan on putting a lot of energy into my creative efforts, since that’s something I haven’t been able to spend much time on over the past 2 years, and hopefully find more venues for selling my jewelry as I produce it.

I’m asking for your prayers as I make preparations to step into the next phase of my life -  leaving the place I’ve poured my life into for 2 years, considering the possibility of moving to Kenya next year, deciding whether to continue as a missionary raising support or to seek international employment, knowing that I want to work with a women’s co-op or income generation group and use my skills in craftsmanship to train and empower women of East Africa to be able to sustain themselves and even prosper in a trade. There are so many unknowns in my life right now, but I know that God has brought me this far and He has taught me so much on the journey, so I’m just trying to trust Him to lead me to the next stop on the path.

Thanks for caring, reading, supporting, and praying for me and with me... those things all mean more than you could know.

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