Friday, June 28, 2024

A month of farewells, then from the fire into the frying pan

MCCE Team Farewell Party
It is hard to believe that we have a moment of stillness to try to get some of the events of the last month in this blog. We have failed to keep our twice-per-month updates because this last month was physically, psychologically, and emotionally exhausting. We knew the end would be hard, but the number of goodbyes, the level of emotion, and the feeling that this departure seems rapid and premature persist.

We were looking forward to our short flight to Nairobi on Tuesday, out of Addis, to drop off some bags, and regroup emotionally before going on to the US on Thursday. We were looking forward to 2.5 days of quiet reflection, maybe play a round of golf, take a walk, go out to eat. As we were on our way to the airport a Kenyan friend said, “Are you sure you don’t want to change your plans?” We were blindsided. We had no idea we were walking into a massive populist protest of a new govt. tax law that threatened to be violent.

A choice typo on a bus in Addis -- seems like
an appropriate life motto for us

We had little choice about changing plans and took the short flight (with 12 bags in tow) to Nairobi. Managing the bags was challenging enough and we were relieved to get them all the way into Nairobi and into 2 cabs to take us to the Westlands neighborhood. When we exited the new expressway though, we were met by a complete traffic jam and we sat for about an hour while 1000s of protesters passed beneath us (we were coming off an overpass). There was smoke rising from the Central Business District and a lot of yelling. Fortunately we were able to get through and heard on the news that evening how bad it had been around Parliament.

We were told that this was just a foreshadowing of Thursday which would be much worse because the President would sign the bill into law. We were advised by our security team to get ourselves to an airport hotel by Wednesday evening, as there would be no chance of getting to the airport on Thursday afternoon from Westlands. We took their advice and moved Wednesday evening to a hotel by the airport. We are passing about 24 hours here waiting for our flight. We get hourly security updates describing the activity downtown. Despite a speech from the President saying he would not sign the bill, the protests are happening anyway as there are other grievances around false promises to youth.

So that is where we are now, hopefully planning to leave in a few hours for the airport. Rebecca will fill you in on activities and goodbyes of the past month. 

Final Field Visits

Even as we were preparing to depart in just a month, we still had a ton of work to do, including fitting in a few important field visits. We need to visit each project at least once a year, but the security situation has not been great. Finally, in May it seemed OK to do a little traveling and so Paul went with 2 colleagues to visit the new food security project that just started in Boricha. 

There was a bittersweet feeling in going on my last field visit. Conflict in Amhara and Oromia has prevented us from traveling 

to many of our project sites, but the road to Hawassa was good last month and I went with Wondesen our logistics officer, and Gulma our Food Security Programs Manager to Boricha in Sidama region to see a new project. Really it is a reinitiation of an old food security project we had been doing with our Mennonite church partner, MKCDC. The project closed about 10 years ago, and MKCDC was keen on restarting it.

The drive down to Hawassa, where we stayed, was uneventful, and I was reminded of many previous trips down that road South for team retreats and partner visits. We stayed at a hotel in Hawassa for 2 nights and visited kebeles where the new project would be implemented. We talked to the local government agriculture extension office about the project, and several of them remembered the program from the past. We also spoke to some local farmers and local church leaders about the program. We were satisfied that we and they were well oriented and returned to Hawassa before driving back to Addis  From that day forward, I doubted we would have the time, with the number of goodbyes and handover activities, to make another out-of-town field visit. We were asked to come back up to Tigray once more for the arrival of a container of school kits, but with the normal delays in customs, that shipment did not get into Ethiopia prior to our departure. See below:

In the math class for gr 1 -2 
While Paul was in Boricha, I went on one final in-town field visit. Our partner Beza Church Development Association, runs a non-formal education center in the Entoto hills above Addis Ababa. It's always a fun place to visit on a Saturday morning when the younger students come for extra tutoring. I had some time to visit 4 different classes and watch kids stretching themselves in math and English. A few kids were willing to answer questions and share their stories in some interviews. 


Yordanos Asefa is 14 years old and currently is studying in grade 6. Right now he is standing 3rd in his huge class. Last year, he even won an academic prize from a BCDC volunteer who works for the Africa Union – she gave him a tablet to use at home for his studies. But things have not always gone smoothly for Yordanos with his studies, because his family situation has been difficult. Back when he was in Grade 1, his parents were in deep conflict with each other. It really affected him and his studies and he had to repeat a grade because of the stress. But truly, he is a brilliant kid, according to Coordinator Lydia. His government school picked him out as a kid who really needed support and recommended him to join the Entoto Non-formal education program. He loves learning all subjects, especially maths, and his hobby is reading books, especially literature in Amharic. To him, peace means freedom.

Interviewing students

Nitzu Bizuwayehu is a small, bright-eyed girl in Grade 4, 11 years old. She started coming to the tutoring program two years ago when she was in grade 2. She got involved in the program because her mother was part of a self-help group sponsored by BCDA. Her mother has been trained in candle-making and she sells small things, washes clothes, and does little odd jobs to support the family, including Nitzu’s two younger brothers.

Nitzu has been learning about peace when coming to the center. Although there is conflict all over the country, she feels like it is a personal matter. Peace means life, loving each other, having everyone be together. There was a hard time when she was younger. 

Nitzu (R) and her friend 
Her parents were in conflict and her father went to prison for a while. She felt helpless. But now her parents are back together. BCDA counselors have helped her to have hope and to trust in God.

Nitzu loves the freedom she experiences at the BCDA center. She feels like she can speak freely, play with her friends, borrow books, and use computers. She was able to join the art class on the day I visited. Before I left, she came with her friend Edelawit Andualem to show me their paintings. Edelawit had painted a self-portrait of a young girl in red. Nitzu painted a green Ethiopian hillside with a flag and a rising sun. 

I was invited to another final work event: a book launch for the Amharic translation of  A Muslim and a Christian in Dialogue by David W. Shenk and Badru KatereggaQuite a few

Pastor Tsadiko cuts the book ribon,
Mekonnen observing from the podium
top leaders from the Evangelical church joined the gathering and listened to several scholars review the book and offer thoughts for its contribution to evangelism and peacebuilding. Sadly, my Amharic capacity did not allow me to understand much beyond the introductions and opening worship song. I can't quite cope with academic Amharic. Still, it was nice to see quite a few people I've worked alongside, before rushing back to the office to try and continue other wrap-up work.

Much of our office work has involved transition. Our new accountant started work on June 3, and he seems to be a great fit for our office, with good qualifications. But I think it was hard for him to start work and then find out that the supervisors who hired him were leaving imminently. We also had lots of ongoing problems to deal with. We still do not have possession of the vehicle we purchased in October and paid duty for. We were working with one partner to get a container of donated MCC school kits cleared from customs so that they could be distributed to kids in Tigray who are only just returning to school after almost 3 years. We really wanted to make a final trip to Axum to witness the distribution and take photos for MCC, but the container was damaged so it was held up in customs while the suit was settled. Maybe the container will move this next week, but we missed our opportunity to make a visit.

Several other projects are deeply impacted by global dynamics. One of them is MCC's largest recipient of canned turkey meat which goes to malnourished refugee mothers and children in Western Ethiopia. Our project is not a stand-alone project --we rely on staff to be paid for distributing the blanket food supplements to refugees. Then the canned turkey is given as a protein supplement for the most needy malnourished pregnant and lactating mothers. It is a very well-run program, delivering excellent results in terms of improving the health of mothers and babies.

But the UN High Commission on Refugees is terribly underfunded in Ethiopia. They made an appeal to try to meet their budget shortfall this year and only received 18% of what they were hoping for. Apparently, diaspora Ethiopians around the world are lobbying for cuts to relief funding for Ethiopia. As a result, funding for these South Sudanese refugees has now been cut by 90% -- which impacts food and daily livelihood for 750,000 refugees. As I said, it's a global issue, with so many disasters going on in the world, but it directly impacts projects we support. We are currently still working on solutions to make sure that the refugees will not be hit hard by these top-level funding cuts. But we aren't sure if we will succeed.

Yabetz and Yeshi in her condo living room

Yeshi's Condo completion and celebration

We can report more success on one unofficial project. Our housekeeper Yeshi has been working to complete construction on her government-built condominium. We've reported on this in previous blogs. In our final month, we made a completion inspection to the condo and it looks great. She was even able to add a door to the bathroom, making it rentable. Her son Yabetz had not seen the condo since our very first visit there last year, when the place was basically just a rough concrete cave in a 5 story building. 

Thanksgiving lunch at Yeshi's house
That same day, Yeshi invited all of the MCC staff to her home for a "thanksgiving meal." She treated us all to a really delicious lunch. We gave thanks for God's provision for her. We prayed and sang. It was a very sweet moment of sharing together. And in our final week in Ethiopia, Yeshi was able to sign a lease for two years with renters. She is now all set to start paying the mortgage due to the government, beginning in July. She is still struggling with pain in her knee post-surgery. But our supervisors have allowed us to hire a second housekeeper part-time (Yeshi's friend Silaenat) to help Yeshi as she goes to physical therapy. We really give thanks to God for all the answers to prayer in her case. 

David with the huge angel scupture

End of school activities

School wrapped up in the first week of June. David's art teacher Mr. Jell (whom David has really appreciated this year as a caring adult and informal advisor as well as an art teacher) was part of coordinating a first-time special event art exhibition. David's 9th grade class collaborated to produce a large sculpture installation of an angel-beggar; "whatever you did for the least of these" was written inside the head. There were other fun interactive aspects to the art exhibit, finding the original artists that inspired the student works displayed around the room. 

David also took extra time and energy to work on a sculpture of his own. Frankly, it became pretty creepy while it was in process. David had to make some decisions (like removing the bloody red eyeballs) so it wouldn't freak out the little kids. I enjoyed the whimsical little cotton clouds hovering over the open brain. 

On the last day of school, we made our final visit to Bingham. David was recognized along with all the other departing students. It was sad and yet also hard to quite keep up with all the emotion of the finalities there. 

Farewell to Departing Friends

We had to say goodbye to quite a few friends early in June. Our dear friends the Polks actually left at the end of May. In their final week, things were hectic at home with all the packing, so we got to see a lot of their son Nathan, as he distracted himself from the chaos by building a model plane at our house. He loves building models and takes it really seriously. David also had a model to build, and Nathan was a great influence in helping him be motivated to do it. Nathan finally finished his plane to an acceptable level about an hour before he needed to go home and go to the airport. 

Polk send-off

I really admired the way the Polks managed to depart. Friends gathered in the late afternoon on a Sunday to pray very intentionally for them and then send them off with all their baggage. I think I cried more tears for their departure than for my own. I especially appreciated the liturgy for leaving a home that they prayed together. I will include it below, because I found it so meaningful. 

With some embassy people

The following week we got to attend a wonderful graduation party for 3 seniors who have been part of our church and youth group community. Their parents were really smart and had the party jointly because they all share the same friends. Then Paul and I went home and changed into party clothes so we could attend a really posh farewell party for Andrea and her family, who are connected with the US Mission. We actually were able to meet some people who work in the Consular section and gave us some helpful information about how non-immigrant visas are granted. Basically, 85% are denied, and it's not easy to convince the consular officers when someone has a genuine invitation. 

Embassy party

Maybe something we learned will help our friend Bereket when he goes back for his next visa appointment on July 2. It is his second attempt to get a visa to attend Eastern Mennonite University, where he has been admitted with a scholarship and full financial backing, a host family, and a great support system. Please pray that doors will open and he will be granted the visa. If he isn't given a visa to the US, he has been admitted to a University in Ontario, and will go for a visa interview for Canada later in the summer

On Sunday, we had a final farewell service for many people departing from Redeemer International Congregation. It will be a bit of a rough transition for our dear friends who are remaining, as they regroup and figure out how to move forward in the new season. We are praying for them. But we trust that Jesus is Lord of the church and will provide. I think Paul leaves the biggest gap, since he was one of the two main Sunday school teachers. The other got a full-time job and also needs to step away from children's ministry. 

Rebecca with Andrea and Elias, 2 church friends

Misadventures with a Mongoose

Just when we thought we could settle into wrapping up work, we had an encounter with an urban mammal that we had never even heard of before. It was a Wednesday morning and at about 5 am we heard a horrible animal screeching outside. Paul called the dogs into the house and they were extraordinarily excited. The guard told us that there was an animal (reportedly a shelametmat or genet cat) hiding under one of the containers in our compound. Friday, our older dog, had an injury on her paw, but we didn't think it was too bad. We put them in the house and tried to give the animal space to leave -- shelametmat are typically very shy. 

White-tailed mongoose photo from internet
Later in the afternoon, I went to collect the eggs and let the chickens out to graze on the grass and leftovers of our lower vegetable garden. I stepped away for a minute to get a frisbee to play with David and heard a horrible commotion. Apparently the creature had slipped out from under the container and was slinking towards the chicken run. Bella, our younger dog, spotted the creature and rushed at it, but it grabbed her by the face with its teeth. The creature -- definitely not a genet cat -- started shaking Friday back and forth like a rag. Friday came rushing in to rescue Bella and bit the creature on its backside. The creature turned and savagely bit Friday on the face and shook her. Paul and our guard Solomon came running with sticks to try to save Friday, and the creature made a run for it to hide in a large drain hole. I got a good look at it them -- it looked much more like a badger, body the same size as our dogs, with stiff grey fur, and a long white tail. We got the animals in the house, and the chickens safely locked back in their pen, and then tried to chase the animal out of the yard -- eventually it climbed a tree and left. 

Injured, sick Friday
We had quite a time looking for the animal in a mammal ID book and online and finally decided that it was a white-tailed mongoose. Mongoose bites are notoriously prone to infection because they are needle-deep. Sure enough, after 36 hours, Friday was really sick with fever. We could finally see that the bites on her nose were infected. We got oral antibiotics for her that day. (this is me at the Pharmacy, in Amharic: "I need child oral amoxicillin." "OK, how old is your child?"  "Um, it's actually for my dog..." well, she sold it to me anyway). The vet came the next day and gave Friday 2 injections of antibiotics. After that, Friday climbed into our bed (forbidden territory, but we allowed it this time) and she did not leave for 2 days. She hardly moved. She would not eat or drink, except for a little milk. We ended up giving her ORS by syringe to try to keep her hydrated. She was the saddest sight, and caring for her through this illness has made her even more dear to us, and it has been even harder to leave her behind. She recovered fully after a week of medication, but it was tough for her. 

Wonde's kids
More farewells 

In between all the work, we really wanted to have some good quality time with special people. Lots of other folks who have been here longer were throwing farewell parties, and so we didn't feel like we could have a farewell party of our own. But instead we got to share time one by one with different families. 

Wonde and Paul

Our amazing logistics officer Wondwesen invited us for lunch after church one day. I was so glad to finally see his house -- they are living there and still working on completing the construction of it. His kids are really fun, and David had a nice time playing Racko with them -- we gave them a game of their own to keep and play on the summer holidays. They made us some delicious doro wot and other delicacies. 

We had a final game night with our friends Lukas and Hana, a younger couple from Germany who we met in our 18 months in Ethiopia. They were away for a year for further training in bible translation and then just returned in February. We shared time with them in our family bible study and playing music at church. We were really glad to have a little more time with them before we left ourselves. 

Yemi and Paul, with Paul

Yemi and Paul Kontra came over one evening for dinner with their kids. We really have enjoyed getting to know them through the choir and mutual friends in the homeschool group. Conversation with them is always very intense and thoughtful, with so many interesting deep social perspectives from Ethiopia, China and the US where they have deep connections. We also played a fun mobile device game which Paul designed during COVID. So Creative! We really hope our paths can cross more with them in the future. 

Paul orienting Lori to our grill, which she

Once school let out and a bunch of people left, a few families were hanging in Addis for the beginning of the rainy season. David got together with friends a few times and did another outing to the pottery/art studio. One evening, we hosted 4 other families (Kempens, Federwitzes, Alis, and 2  remaining Mulfords) at a final sausage sizzle and outdoor game time. We really love the community we have been part of in Addis and it is a huge loss to be moving away from them. We also shared a special Indian meal with Aaron and Frieda Jell one evening, but no photos were taken. We just enjoyed each others' company and hope to meet up in Kenya!

Mesfin's family

Mesfin, our former food security programs manager, still lives in the neighborhood and has continued to be close with our team. He also invited us for a feast of doro wot on our final Sunday in town, and we are so thankful for his hospitality and friendship. Our time in Ethiopia has been so rich because of capable and compassionate colleagues like him. 

David and the Ali kids

LeCrecia Ali and her family have been so good to our family this year. David has been riding with them to and from school every day and I think the Ali kids have become like his cousins. They invited us for a Sunday dinner on our last weekend -- so helpful as we were just exhausted from trying to finish up the packing and purging of the house. I was grateful for the time to spend with her husband and learn more about Somali poetry and the role it plays in Somali culture. 

Each one of these special times with friends was a gift to us at the end. 

Mosleys with new MCC Rep Sisay

Official MCC farewells

During our final week of work, most of our personal friends had left. It was time to focus on the official MCC farewells. We felt incredibly grateful to learn, at the beginning of June, that the new MCC Ethiopia Rep will be Sisay Kasu, who is already here in Addis Ababa. Sisay worked with MCCE from 2017-2021 and we met him just as we were starting our assignment and he was taking a new assignment with MCC in Malawi. He returned to Ethiopia in January this year for a national program manager position -- he's an expert in conservation agriculture and food security. He will now start as MCCE director in August. It's an historic moment for MCC in Ethiopia, moving away from the outdated missionary model (where the reps are a jolly older couple from North America) and towards the new global face of MCC leadership. 

We had a few days with Sisay to explain the program and personnel issues and talk through the more sensitive handover issues. Luckily, we don't need to explain the Ethiopian context to Sisay, and he really knows the team and the program well. And he was able to join us for every one of the final official farewell events, making for a very smooth transition for us and our partners. 

With MK brethren
On Tuesday this past week, we spent most of the day at the offices of the Meserete Kristos church. First, we scheduled a routine financial review of their Development commission, one of our strategic partners. That took most of the morning. And then they hosted us for a special farewell lunch. It was a very deep and moving time as we reflected back on the 3.5 years we have shared together. I was remembering their kindness in November 2021, when the President and Vice president of the church, Desalegn and Kelbesa, came to pay us a pastoral visit, as the country was being torn apart by conflict and many of our friends had already evacuated. It meant a lot to us that they cared for us in those early months in Ethiopia. 

Prayer with MK brethren

But the quality of their work has really impressed us so much. They truly live out their theology of peacebuilding in the ways they do their development work. They are such a generous community of Christians, giving out of their own resources to address needs in Ethiopia, and then just inviting us to join them. The Ethiopian Anabaptist church is really an example to the rest of us of mature Christian faith, lived out in action. We have been humbled to work alongside them. They gave us some beautiful Ethiopian textile items including a really lovely dress with green embroidery, that I was able to wear a few days later.

Amazing gifts from Amhara region
On Wednesday, MCC Ethiopia hosted a special Farewell / Welcome lunch for all of our MCC partners and close collaborators. Again, it was a time to share words of mutual appreciation and to have time to part intentionally with close colleagues. We work hard with these wonderful professionals, travel together, spend quality time working on problems together, and weep for the situation of the communities together. I do not have adequate words to express what an honor it has been to work together with such high-capacity, dedicated local partners. I kept thinking about every single project we visited. We monitor for the indicators we expect to see in their proposals. But there have been so many unexpected impacts we have witnessed because of the quality of work these partners do. Self-help groups formed by impoverished parents of preschool students suddenly turned out to be places of peacebuilding, where ethnic barriers were broken down and people of different backgrounds found friends. The food security programs increased yields for farmers and improved nutrition; they have also re-drawn whole landscapes from barren dirt, to lush green hillsides where the soil holds firm. Children find peace and safety and community when they come to the tutoring center to improve their grades at school. In the prison ministry project, murderers are reconciled with the families of their victims; but we found friendship and respect between Orthodox Prison police, inmates and Mennonite chaplains. 

Group photo with some of the partners

In so many ways, the work of MCC Ethiopia partners exceeds all expectations. It is truly a loss to us personally as we walk away from direct involvement with such vibrant and inspiring development work. As we shared our love and appreciation with the partners, both Paul and I wept deeply for what we are losing as we leave. 

On the other hand, we were so happy that Sisay could be present at this gathering, to be formally presented to the community of partners. They welcomed him warmly as a blessing (that's the meaning of his name). He has so much experience to bring to this work and a keen sense of the local context. We do pray that he will be able to lead the program to even greater effectiveness. 

Etsegenet from Food for the Hungry

On Friday, we had another lunch meeting and farewell with our Advisory committee. These are a group of experienced people who are not directly in partnership with MCC. They have helped give us good counsel in tricky situations, of which we have faced many. Again, it was so great for Sisay to be present to meet them, and there will be good continuity there. 

Fikre and Solomon roasting goat

Our biggest and most emotional event of the week fell on Thursday when we had our MCC Ethiopia staff farewell lunch. Our staff celebrated by buying a really handsome fat goat from Harar. He enjoyed about 5 minutes in our yard before being slaughtered. It took a while for all the meat to be cut up. Our oldest guard, Muluneh, brought an enormous flat metal frying pan and the younger guards built a fire in one of our outdoor shelters. Finally, we all gathered for an amazing meal of tender, hot goat tibs, Dulet (basically goat sausage -- all the parts you wouldn't otherwise eat, all ground up with spices and delicious), aib (local cheese), injera, and bread. Everyone relished the delicious meat -- it is an absolute luxury to eat any kind of meat these days. The dogs were on board with enjoying everything that dropped from people's plates. 

Staff sharing lunch in our living room

After the meal, people shared many thoughtful and precious words with us. It is very hard for many of them to let us depart. We all wept many tears as we gave thanks for good things we have experienced together. I was especially glad Mesfin could join us as a former staff. Together we remembered crying and praying together for the country in November 2021 when our family had to evacuate ahead of an apparent invasion. It was a moment that truly bonded us with our team and with Ethiopia. Those are the tears that God will keep in his bottle. As we reflect back, it really seems that the hardships and troubles we have faced together in Ethiopia really made us feel much closer to one another. 

Paul sharing final words, 
especially an apology for leaving so soon

Are you tired having read all this? Once we finished the farewell events, we were utterly spent. We did have about an hour for a final restorative swim at our favorite local pool on Friday morning. And then we worked full out all weekend to make sure our stuff was packed, the house was empty of old junk, the animals well-prepared for our departure (baths, flea treatment). 

There were a million little things to try to finish for work on Monday. I don't think we did them all. There were also many final tearful farewells and final prayers. 

We are still on duty, managing the Ethiopia program through the month of July, so we will have to manage this workload. 

We slipped away before dawn  on Tuesday to head to the airport with the help of Wonde. We needed 2 cars to move all the luggage -- it's hard to move countries with suitcases. A few more bags remain for Paul to pick up in August when he makes a final rep visit and handover. And now, we are firmly halfway through this transition week, sitting in Brussels, reflecting back. Some deep rest is needed. 


Living room filled with friends and fun 2 weeks ago

Final night with chickens

Glorious pointsettia tree

final church service

Last Sunday at Redeemer

Friday stuffed with goat (still breathing, no taxidermy)

staff farewell feast

Cutting the traditional bread -- that is all one huge loaf!

Coffee station in our dining room, so beautiful

The obliging goat

David working on a puzzle

Our backyard

Miheret making coffee

The hallway outside Yeshi's condo -- yes, that's how they install
electricity -- those wires dangling from the ceiling...

Final Lord's Supper June 2

Art exhibition

Mona Luca

David's sculpture from another angle -- he left it at Bingham to scare younger students

Our amazing pool

Flowers in our yard

BCDA kids

A child at BCDA feeding me some of her lunch -- Gursha

Lydia, Lydia and Dr. Ermias at BCDA

David and friends at Gulele

At the airport

David and Wonde

Decommissioned living room, Tuesday morning

Here is the promised liturgy for saying goodbye to a home… 

Father, you have made us for yourself
and our hearts are homesick
until they make their home in you.
In this home that we are now leaving,
we have experienced a foretaste
of that rest, that peace, that deep belonging,
that beloved grounded-ness which we will
one day know in full in your presence.
That is why we are right to grieve this change.
In between these walls, around this table,
underneath these trees and in this garden,
you have mercifully revealed to us
your deep and abundant goodness.
Pulling up roots hurts, Father.
Moving reminds us that we are yet pilgrims,
sojourners, way-finders in this beautiful but broken world.
Let our tears remind us of our true hope,
our forever home, that even now you are preparing for us.
Though our hearts are caught in the tension
between loss of what we love and excitement for what’s to come,
we are right to give you thanks
for all you have done here [name the address].
Thank you, Lord, for the friendships forged with our neighbors.
Thank you, Lord, for the love given and received
in this galaxy of warm places—
names and addresses of real people made in your image.
Thank you, Lord, for the meals shared. For the eggs borrowed.
For lives lived in close proximity,
in everyday inter-dependence.
Let our hearts find comfort and courage in the outrageous truth
that you, Jesus—creator, savior, King—are no stranger to moving.
In your adjective-defying love, you left your home
to make your home with us—to seek and to save
orphans like us, to settle us in the home of your presence.
We look forward to the day when the dwelling place
of God will be with man for all eternity,
where we will see you face-to-face.
You have new adventures planned for us,
new work for us to do in a new neighborhood with new neighbors.
We know that because you are with us
and because we are with each other,
our new destination
will become as much of a home as the one we’re leaving now.
We thank you for making all things new,
and because your promises are sure,
we know that you will go before us into this new
stretch of our pilgrimage, even as our hearts
long to be in our forever home, even as we look forward
to that safe lodging and holy rest that you have promised
to those who love you and seek your kingdom.