Transitions are Hard For Us All
We spent a whirlwind four weeks getting Luke and Lydia situated, visited Hannah and Allan with all of us together on Mother's Day, taking care of multiple details with the car, insurances, college details, houses, friends, a wedding, a baby, and celebrating Memorial Day with the Temple clan. It went way too fast, but we boarded the plane to Sarajevo and off we went.
Luke is living in Paradise Mountain Ministries in Toccoa, GA which provides him a place to work while he lives among MKs from around the world who are working or attending college. We are thanking God for this amazing ministry! Lydia will be attending Toccoa Falls College this fall. She is required to live on campus for a year, but will then live in Paradise, as well. It seems the best solution for them both currently, as the nest has evaporated. We are being stretched to cover the additional cost of this Christian college, rather than a secular school, but we believe it will benefit Lydia greatly, especially as she studies Nursing with a focus on serving Christ.
Other missionary friends from Bosnia visited in Atlanta, Mark and Kay and their son Tomas, and we spent time with Sean and Heather, our other Bosnian missionary friends, as well. When at their neighborhood pool, I met a woman who looked so familiar! It was Dottie Stiles! She and her husband worked in Kenya in the 80-90's and were part of my inspiration to be a missionary! WOW! I couldn't believe it! She came to the Memorial Day celebration at the Temples' home, too. What a delight to have her company! Thank you, again, Cynthia and Scott Temple for loving us and letting us be a part of your family!
Transitions are hard. As we left HOT-Lanta and transitioned into cold and rainy Sarajevo, I remembered all the smoke (cough, cough) and coffee, but also Baklava soon to arrive with Bajram. It is very busy visiting so many friends and trying to remember all our Bosnian words! With jet lag, we were so sleepy and off kilter, but slowly adjusted. The basement apartment was cold and we had a hard time getting warm that first night.
What is a home? Look around and think about what makes your house a home, especially when the kids come back for the holidays. Familiar pictures on the wall, a comfy sofa where you watched movies with the family on Friday nights, familiar dishes and food, or a favorite blanket or stuffed animal. After 20 years on a foreign land, which was home for our children, it feels so strange to be here without them! I miss them sliding down the hall on stocking feet, sitting on the staircase to get better internet, climbing out on the roof for fun, playing with our cat, Bella, who went missing when we were in the States for a few months. What can they come home to now?
Maybe they feel lost, like me sometimes. Confused about where I belong. Where IS home? America is so different from what we left in 1999. Bosnia is not my home language or culture. I feel most comfortable with other Americans or Internationals wherever I go. What about the kids? What do they talk about with their friends? Most people are only slightly interested in a foreign land they have not visited. "What did you do there and what was it like?" These are not easy to answer in 5 or 10 minutes of so many years spent somewhere else. We did not talk about or go to see the Braves, except once, and the kids didn't really "get" what all the fuss was about. Futball is soccer to them, but we didn't appreciate that either, because it could be dangerous in the stadium and I do not get that sport at all. Our kids were somewhat involved with gymnastics, so they love to do flips and handstands everywhere. And Luke is into parkour, and other risky and adrenaline producing activities, as many of you know. Merle was into climbing, rafting, snowboarding, and active adventures, which our kids love. I think we may all feel most at home when we are finally all together in heaven. A place of true rest, but one thing you won't be able to do there is tell others about Jesus, because all of us there will know Him and have chosen to love and follow Him!
October we will celebrate moving to Sarajevo, Bosnia 20 years ago! We have done so many different things over the years, not the least of which was living in a Muslim neighborhood, our children attending the local 99% Muslim school, adopting two Russian children into our home, and being a witness of Christ in a foreign culture. We have come to love our friends and neighbors as we demonstrate the truths of abundant life in Christ. We have now moved into our previous apartment, which we never expected, now furnished with some else's furniture, and we were able to take our belongings out of storage in the basement of a Bosnian's home on the side of a mountain, and put it in an open room below our apartment. We are in the process of sorting and making decisions. As we head back to Atlanta for Christmas, we have decided to ship our precious things back to America, like grandma's painting, my Dad's dresser, my piano, special Christmas ornaments, kids keepsakes, among other memorable things that we are so connected to that make a house a home. When we come in the future, we will rent a furnished place, like we have this summer. Our dilemma is paying to move the essentials back across the ocean, so we need your help. God knows the cost of this lifestyle. Thank you for always supporting us as we give our lives to serve overseas.
Below are dear friends, Sutka and Zejnil, Mladen - the Bosnian pastor of the Breza church we have known since he was a young man, and his wife Violeta sitting at the coffee bar with visitors, worship at the Breza Church, Asima, the mainstay of our early church plant, and Jean Jacque and Vesna, our dear French/Bosnian friends! Laughter is always abundant at their home! How many stories we could tell of all the experiences we have had over all these years we have lived here, with dear friends, Alija and Rafika with us, Violeta and Stipe with their daughter Elena, Halida, Zio, and the across the street neighbors on Kobilja Glava, Halima and Hamo and their extended family, and the two boys Tarik and Kemo, Luke's buds.
Thank you, Lord, for all these wonderful people and the influence they have had on us and us on them. You are awesome, Lord! May you be glorified in all nations of the world!
"Give praise to the LORD, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world." Isaiah 12:4-5