We left our home in the US for Mozambique just over a month ago on July 28th. Having waited this long to begin our blog, I am now faced with the monumental task of retelling all that has transpired during this time, plus keep up with the daily happenings we currently experience. This will certainly take more than one sitting to accomplish, so let me begin at the beginning and work my way up. So…here goes…
The 3 weeks preceding our move were the most emotionally and physically demanding time of our lives. The goodbyes to family and friends were emotionally draining and teary, at times leaving me questioning what we were embarking on. The goodbyes to our “stuff” were easier on us emotionally. We were so prepared to leave all of that behind and it actually was a very freeing experience to sell everything off. We stored away our mementos and precious items into a storage unit. We put items to be shipped to Africa later in another storage space. We sold the majority of our worldly possessions on Craig’s List and at a yard sale. While it was easy to let go of these physical possessions, I discovered that each one had a memory attached to it. These memories filled my mind as I watched each item go down the driveway. The process of deciding what to do with our stuff was the overwhelming part, maybe because we did have so much stuff. Imagine taking every item you own, every cup, plate, and bowl, every piece of clothing, every game, every picture and knick knack, every everything in your home and having to discern whether you want to keep it or get rid of it. Then, if you decide you can’t live without it, you must discern- is it important enough to store away for years or is it important enough to my life in Africa to ship it across the ocean. If they item is not a keeper, you must discern whether to sell it (and here a choice is made between Craig’s List and yard sale) or if it should go to Good Will or should just be plain pitched. Throughout the whole process, our one take away was that we keep a lot of stuff around that we don’t need and don’t use! Finally, we packed what we absolutely could not live without for the next 3 or 4 months into 2 suitcases apiece to take with us on the airplane. Now that was tough! We ended up with one bag for Don’s clothing, one bag for Will’s clothing, one bag for Don’s business needs, one bag for personal care items (most of which were my hair care products J ), and two bags for my clothing- oh yeah!
God was good through all of this in providing buyers for everything we needed to sell, even our home. After almost a year of being on the market and me cleaning it nonstop for showings and worrying too much about it selling (while Don was at peace the whole time believing that God would had the most amazing plan for us), He brought us the most perfect family. My prayer always was not just that our house would sell, but that God would bring a family who would love and enjoy it as much as we had. I loved that house. It was our home. He not only brought us such a family, but they were even better than what I asked for. They purchased items we still had in our home (items on the walls, some furniture, rugs, etc) for an amount above what I would have expected, but even threw in an extra $100 to bless us so that we could bless the children here! They liked our dog, Bailey, and asked if they could keep him as well. So Bailey got a new family, with younger children who were more interested in him than what ours had grown to be, and he never had to move from his home! Since our move, they have been so kind as to dispose of the pile of garbage we left in the garage and to oversee our mail that still shows up at our home.
We have so many people to thank for blessing us before we left. We were treated to the most awesome of meals in their homes. We received cards and notes of encouragement and blessing. We received gifts to take with us. My good friend Kim came and spent hours in my garage with me helping me prepare for our yard sale. My other good friend, Adrienne, spent months working tirelessly to find a buyer for our home. Nancy, a friend from church, arrived during our packing week and brought food to feed an army of helpers. Don’s sister Laurie and brother Billy were two of those workers who came from Lancaster and spent the day helping us pack and move out items. And I can’t forget Karen who took time out of her busy summer to have one last chai with me at Burlap and Bean the day before we left.
So we packed, stored, pitched, and sold right up to the very minute we left for the airport. We were hoping for some down-time with our children before we would leave and be separated for the coming year, but this did not happen with all there was to do. While I was upset that this opportunity was stolen from me, looking back on it, I can see it was for my own good. By keeping busy, my mind was kept from dwelling on the unavoidable and difficult separation from my two oldest children that was looming before me. We did make sure to pray first before Cassie and Brent left. We joined hands together in the kitchen and I am so thankful for Brent’s prayer as he led us off. If I had gone first, I would have dwelled on our separation and it would have been very sad and would have left me sobbing. Yet Brent had the wisdom from above to focus on praising and thanking God for the good work He is doing in our family. He set us all straight in where our eyes should be set. So we all said a prayer and we went out to the driveway to see Cassie and Brent off in their loaded up cars. Both were so excited and joyful for what was ahead of them. Cassie was excited to be heading back to Gordon for her senior year. She would be living in an apartment on campus, working in the student government as vice-president of academic affairs, and her sweet boyfriend, Dillon, and all of her friends would be there as well. Brent was just beaming from ear to ear as he anticipated the independence and freedom that was ahead of him with his parents being out of country. He had his senior year to look forward to. Not to mention living with the Ferro family who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in providing a home for him this year. They say he will be the son they never had. He says they will treat him like a prince. His first days with them would be spent at their vacation home at the beach. While I felt like my heart was being torn from my chest, it was hard to not be happy for them, pleased at how well they were prepared for this step, and thankful that they have a such a great life to look forward to.
After they left, we rolled up our sleeves to finish one last ditch effort to clear out of our house. Dawn Sutphin, who we knew by my having had the privilege of teaching her daughter Gracie a few years ago, came to drive us to the Dulles airport in Washington, D.C. She is one of the many people God has brought into our life recently to come alongside of us in what He is asking us to do. Like the Ferros, she has gone above and beyond as a friend, lawyer, and even a chauffeur in driving us and our suitcases. Again and again we have been humbled by these people and their selfless giving. I was thankful for Dawn in that because this was such an emotional time, she was someone I felt very comfortable about being a part of our final steps to leaving. I probably wasn’t good company during the drive down as I couldn’t stay awake. We had stayed up until 1 am the night before and got up at 4 am to finish our packing up. Fortunately Don kept her busy talking. She drove us to our drop off point and we set a porter to the work of getting our luggage into the terminal. As we walked in, she waited watching us until we were out of sight. I couldn’t help but be thankful again for her care for us, and I couldn’t help wondering what she must think of us!
I don’t think there ever has been any passengers as grateful to step onto a plane as Don, William, and I were that day. The emotional and physical separations were now behind us. Almost everything we owned was gone. We were drained. Now all that was required of us for the next 16 hours was to eat, sleep, watch movies, and rest. That was a very welcome thing for us. Now that we had given up everything, we had everything to look forward to.