As I believe we are all innately wired to explore the vastness of His creation and wonders, the emotions of these journeys are just as adventurous. As I venture to seek His breathe from valley floors to towering vistas, from the greatest of seas to the smallest of meandering streams, I often ramble through a strange series of self talk that is just as confusing as it is liberating. Whether following blazes down a well-weathered path or bushwhacking my way to unknown fortunes, the flood of voices press on and fight for traction in my soul. I inhale a breath of fresh air glittered with smells of pines, cedars and the morning bloom. I’m excited to know my cell has no service and is merely a camera to capture a glimpse of a larger story, all the while I worry if I will need my cell to call in some imagined horrifying accident. I doubt my own physical ability to achieve the task at hand, while I’m overcome with joy as my kids fearlessly conquer the trail and boulders in our path. Even among the shouts of victory and bliss I play through strange scenarios of survival and rescue. The laughter is as precious as the cooling breeze. The questions of God and life are welcomed just as much as the swashbuckling stick sword fights, a princess fortress high upon a rock that has weathered storms we can not fathom, and the embrace that comes when the bravery and excitement of a new adventure overshadows the abilities of my children and a skinned knee tries to tear the tapestry of this present joy.
Since leaving Haiti in early March we have been like gypsies blowing in the wind. This time of freedom and exploration has flowered rest and peace within our hearts and minds. From the frost covered valley floor of Yosemite, to the snow angels of the Eastern Sierras (our Caribbean skin did not fair too well to the mounds of ice and snow), to the vast and rolling Atlantic Coast, our family has laughed, cried and explored our way to a better place. Not that Haiti wasn’t our place; it is just that no matter the length, every journey has an end; each trail reaches its peak. With anxious hearts and clouded minds we obediently exited Haiti to venture an open road with no ending in site. Whether exploring the oddities of Joshua Tree with adventurous friends or sitting under the awning of an RV as smells of coffee, bacon and the spring rain fill the air, our souls rested in anticipation of what was to come. Times of painful quiet, wrestling with bi-polar like prayer and the consultation of those that have lived life ahead of what we can see, we now see a new sign. A new trailhead waits. And this new trailhead that awaits my family and I is no different than those wandered before. Of course, the scenery looks different and the language on our ears has a comforting tone, we have arrived and the voices rain.
Your continued support and prayers have allowed and blessed our gypsy bandwagon beyond words. We are forever grateful for the steadfast faith in our family and God’s adventurous call for our family. From the initial move to Haiti with nothing more than a few suitcases and a few faithful friends to the massive mission compounds of Hands and Feet Project, we sought to fully embrace the tattered Haitian trail. With much exploration and hardened work behind us, we can joyfully and confidently say we served well and thank you for journeying with us.
As we have begun to slowly meander down our new trail in the east we want to share, so that you too may rejoice in the shining splendor of our new course. With sand between our toes and the warm, comforting sun shining overhead, we now call Jacksonville Beach, FL home. I find it interesting to find myself back in the state for which I was born, but did not hold fast to any ties. As we begin to settle and explore the new sites and sounds we are thankful for an interesting sense of peace and home. With a new position at Beach Church as the Serve Pastor (aka Missions Pastor) we have a new church family to embrace and grow with. We prayerfully seek community, which we so desperately lacked in Haiti, and find comfort in our family trips to the sea. These short bike rides to our new sand and shore offer us some sense of familiarity as we found in Haiti, yet also offer new opportunities for joy. Moving came with the normal frustrations, pains and miles of the seemingly endless interstate, but we are here now and we are well.
So as the journey has begun, those familiar and unsettling voices begin to stir of doubt, inadequacy and wonder. Am I good enough, qualified enough, will I be accepted? Have the previous trails hardened my heart beyond what I know? The all too familiar chatter continually burdens my soul within. However contorting this inner speech is, I also believe it is liberating and mending. So as we walk our new shores, worship in His house and seek new friends, we rejoice in our continued opportunity to serve Him.
Again, we thank and value those of you that have faithfully journeyed with us over the past years of tears and triumphs. And though our trail is different today we rejoice in knowing our friends will journey with us regardless of where this new trailhead may lead us.