We are so looking forward to seeing family and friends and meeting new people, but it is hard leaving our home for such a long period of time.
Imagine picking up and leaving your life for three months. It's never an easy thing to do. As our kids get older and older, it gets harder and harder to just pick up and leave everything.
Our furloughs happen every 2 years and they are part of this life that God has chosen for us and, like I said, we love going back to the states (the kids are already talking doughnuts, Dr. Pepper, bowling with grandparents and other things that they don't get here) but it's a strange thing to try to explain.
(Anderson and Garrett with Papa at the Memphis Zoo in 2009.)
We have lived here longer than any place Benay and I have ever lived in our married lives. Going on 10 years. Two of our kids were born here and know no other life than the life we live in Brasil. Two of our other kids were 5 and 3 when we moved here so most of their memories of the states don't come from when they actually lived there but from our furloughs. Our kids' best friends are all Brasilians. Our church family, aside from one remaining teammate as well as other American missionaries that we worship with, are all Brasilian.
We love living here and know that this is right where God wants us to be right now. This is our home.
That was brought home to me last week in a big way.
We went to pick up Anderson from school and he was sitting on the bench with his buddies surrounding him and giving him hugs as he was crying. His teacher, Vanessa, looked at me and motioned for us to come in.
She began to tell us that he was sad about going to the United States because he was going to miss all of his friends and school and he was afraid everyone would forget him. He was going to miss his home.
Now, when we get on the plane to go to the states he will be completely jacked up. He's going to the land of candy we don't have, grandparents who play with him all the time and take him to cool places, food he can't get here, etc. but he cried when he thought about leaving his home.
(Anderson and Grandaddy at the beach in 2009.)
We understand. We are excited to see family and friends in the states. We are also excited to see what the Lord will do while we are there. But we will miss our home for 3 months. We will miss our family traditions that we do every Christmas. We will miss Christmas day in shorts and a t-shirt. (I can still remember our first Christmas here and how weird it was to be going to the mall in shorts. Now it's weird to think of wearing a big coat to go Christmas shopping). We will miss getting to experience our full spring. We'll miss the end of the school year excitement as summer approaches. We'll miss our annual dirty Santa Christmas party that we invite all of our friends to in our house. We'll miss our bible studies together and just hanging out with our friends. We'll miss home.
God isn't done with us yet and, in some ways, it feels like He is just getting into the real meat and taters of why He called us here. Exciting things are happening and, honestly, we just don't want to miss it.
This is home and we understand exactly how Anderson was feeling last week and yet we know he will probably also cry when it's time to leave grandparents and get on the plane to come back home in January. He will have a foot in both worlds.
It's a interesting thing to see and feel and it reminded me of a favorite quote from one of our most favorite people (Dottie for those that know her) who was also a missionary for 15 years in Amsterdam. She loves the following quote: