J. and I our entire marriage have lived a life similar to yours, one of the unexpected. Rarely have we lived where we thought we would, rarely have we done what we imagined we’d be doing. This season in our lives is no exception. But in a western culture where location is everything we beg to differ. It is not where you are that matters it is not even what you do, it is who you serve and how you love.
It is quite simple to think,
“If only I lived in the country, that is where I am most comfortable I could love,serve, be more there…”
Or how about, “If only I had a larger home I could host, love and serve better there..”
Or “I am just more of a city person. I cannot serve, love, and be who I am meant to be here..”
Location and job status can make a big difference on how we feel, but they never make a difference in who we serve, or how we love. I think location and occupation can quickly become idols fooling us into a sense of stability, success and freedom but these can swiftly change, who we serve and how we love is not dependent on location or circumstances or occupation.
Friends I write these thoughts because where we are, and what we are doing is changing for a season but I want you to know that who we serve and how we love is not. We hope you will continue to journey with us holding us accountable to what has not changed, and praying us through the flexibility to adapt to what has.
As we reflected on the year and all the unexpected in the year to come we re-evaluated our mission and calling and confirmed that we wanted to be about empowering the Southern Sudanese church in the coming years. This brings us to the question of what now.
We feel the best way to fulfill this mission and to continue working with the South Sudan church hopefully in Melut, or with a refugee population if that door remains closed to us is to acquire more Sudanese Arabic. Our children have expressed this desire as well. So we have located a language school in North Africa that J will leave for and begin in just two weeks. We have requested from SIM South Sudan, and been granted four months to study in this country as a family. After this time we will re-evaluate if we can return to Melut or continue studying. We have found an area with a high Sudanese population near the school where we hope J can acquire an apartment soon so the family can join him. This country has an excellent school and the dialect is one of the closest to Sudanese so it is a good fit for our family.
This decision carries with it much grief, and grace. When we made the choice to go we had no contacts in Cairo and were feeling overwhelmed but in the past week we have been flooded with wonderful contacts, people with children, folks who are working among the Southern Sudanese and can help us navigate schooling options for our children. In addition our neighbors from Melut, who left in April and just relocated there. Such grace.
So friends our location has temporarily changed (or will) but who we serve, and how we love has not. Please pray with us that we love well, serve the Lord with all we have as a family and that He uses this time in a powerful way to prepare our hearts, minds and tongues for serving Him whatever the future holds.
-J and Abuk