Monday, October 09, 2017

Home, Home, & Home

There are many crazy things to share from our home here-- God is working, opportunities are presenting themselves, and we are thrilled to be a small part of what He is doing here. As fall weather hits, for maybe the first time I am almost enjoying it. This change has reminded me that this has, in fact, become home in many ways. We are blessed to be here, blessed to have a great team and good friends. It is, after all, the people who make a place home, and God has given us those kind of people here.

Kevin went home to Manitoba this weekend, and we missed being there with him. The places he went and things he did made us miss that home, reminded us of the ways God has planted us in a place we haven't actually lived in very often. Yet we have family and friends in Manitoba who make it home. A strong team, primarily from there, has sent us here and allows us to serve here. Home: it's a good word for how we feel about Manitoba.

These days I've also been reminded of my first home, Venezuela. Maybe it was going to Mexico twice and meeting a number of amazing people who reminded me of friends and a culture where I lived my earliest years. Maybe it's the fact that Venezuela is appearing on the news again and Facebook allows me to connect with various people there. Mostly I think it's one of my friends, who I'll call Carla.

Carla and I were neighbors when we were young moms. We swapped baby stories and made food together. We cooked and chatted and became fast friends, despite her initial thought that foreigners were in the country to take advantage. She taught me to make some great Italian food as well as traditional Venezuelan dishes. Her grandmother wove a hammock for us. I was invited to make hallacas, a traditional Venezuelan Christmas dish, with her family. We learned and grew together, and one day we had to say goodbye. When Garry went back to get rid of our things, Carla brought her kids by and offered a hand.

All of our kids have graduated from high school now, and while I am privileged to have both my sons at home while they study, Carla just put her second daughter on a jet plane to Spain. Carla's oldest two are living together, trying to get by in a new country, far from family and friends. The goodbye had to have been hard because with the current situation in Venezuela, it may be eternity before they are reunited. Miles and borders separate us, but my heart hurts for Carla.

The pain I feel at her goodbyes mirrors some of what I feel as family members still live and minister in Venezuela. I am appalled at the suffering and need in a country that is rich in so many ways. I am hurt by the abuses that happen and the difficulty it is for average people to survive there these days.

Yet in the midst of the suffering, many good things are happening. God is being revealed through His church, and people are being saved. Children are especially open to the Gospel, but spiritual hunger in general is greater than it was in times of plenty. God is raising up an army of prayer warriors to intercede for their country. And God seems to be opening doors to support and help the local Church and individual believers there.

I am often reminded to pray for Venezuela, and a verse that often comes to mind is the one where we are instructed to remember those who are suffering as though they were, in fact, our brothers and sisters. And truly, many in Venezuela are our brothers and sisters.

Home. We're privileged to have several, and each one brings both joy and pain. We're thankful for each person in our lives who makes somewhere a good place to be!

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