This song has held a special place in my heart for the past few months and will probably continue to sting my eyes every time I hear it for the next few.
The rest of the verse says:
"Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever you would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior"
After lots of prayers, "come to Jesus meetings" and tears, Lee and I have decided that our family will leave Peru at the beginning of next year (Jan-March 2015.) If I were just being honest I've had to go wash my face, to keep the tears from coming, twice with cold water since starting this post (I know it's only a few sentences so far:) I've been dreading writing this post for about 2 months and my emotions are on steroids!
Since starting this journey back in 2007 when we started our year of training with our team and Halbert Institute for Missions, I don't think Lee and I could have imagined the exciting, heart-breaking, fun, gut-wrenching, adventurous and faith building journey this was going to be. This verse popped up in my study this morning and I think it describes perfectly our last 7 years.
Though I would like to think that this journey has done nothing but use us to grow humongous fruit trees here in Lima, I think a large part of this adventure has been a pruning fest for Lee and I. Our faith, our marriage, our parenting, our kids, our friendships, our work, have ALL experienced pruning and it's been excruciating and beautiful all at the same time.
I was looking back at pictures to post on the blog (and of course had to stop because I couldn't stop crying, GEEZ!) and I couldn't believe all that God has let us experience in 7 short years. From our year of training with our team, to Costa Rica for 4 months of language training, to an unexpected 9 months back in Abilene waiting for the arrival of Liam and then off to Peru in November of 2009. In those 7 years we moved to 7 houses in 3 countries, lost a baby boy, welcomed another baby boy, Sofia had a heart procedure, we helped start a church, helped start a non-profit helping people in a shanty town, went to the jungle (and brought back a whole other experience called Malaria:), slept in the mountains, drove through desert, surfed in the ocean, all 3 kids started "big school" here, all 3 kids became bi-langual, we started the Segunda Chanza Store, started EverFIT Bootcamp classes, made incredible friends, laughed, cried and made more memories than we could ever have imagined.
Lima, Peru is an incredibly beautiful, adventurous place to live and the people here have welcomed us with open arms. It's hard to believe that I won't see my little market friends Edwards and Maria, my school moms (Maria, Marou, Karim, Anita, Carmen etc....) I've had breakfast with on a monthly basis for 4 years, our church community (can't name them all:), our teammates (need I say more), our surfing friends, our expat friends, our baseball friends, our neighbors, my bootcamp crew:(, the Wong grocery boys, the community of Paraiso in the shanty town, Carlos (our neighbor who Lee is with on a daily basis), Meche (the lady who has worked in our home since Liam was 5 weeks old.) I mean REALLY?!?! This is ugly cry stuff here folks.
I think one of the reasons it was so hard for Lee and I to make the decision to leave is that well...things are good. Lee is LOVING his work. He is IN HIS ELEMENT folks. Serving people and loving on people is what my man does well. This project in Villa Maria-Paraiso has him so incredibly excited! He loves spending time up on that mountain talking to the construction crew and getting dirty in the dirt with them. This project will help change a lot of lives and that gives him a skip in his step. The time he spends with the team guys has been uplifting and fun. They are in a groove folks:) The bible study he has out in another part of Lima is growing and he is training up another guy that is going to take over. The church is growing deep. The church isn't growing in numbers each week but the depth each week is building a strong community.
Our kids are all at the same school now. We are really active in the school and hope to get them involved in our Second Chance store soon (here is a link if you want to know what the store is all about- https://www.dropbox.com/s/6ghtdu4gmjekw3b/Segunda%20Chanza.m4v?n=204415616 )
The kids love school and they are also in their groove.
All this to say is it's hard to leave in a groove. You know what I mean??? There are positives and negatives to leaving when the work is good.
Ok, I knew this post was going to be long but it keeps getting longer by the minute so I better get to "the rest of the story."
We probably have as many unanswered questions as anyone BUT here are a few things we do know:
- We feel ready to leave full-time church planting ministry. Let me expound. When we started on this journey we knew we were taking on a job that was essentially a "working ourselves out of job" situation. Like I said earlier, the church is doing good and when things are good, not as many "gringos" are needed. This is a great problem and sets us up well in our teams "Exit Strategy" (yes, we do have a name for this:) We also have realized that are gifts lay in other ministry opportunities and we are excited to see where God wants to use us next! No matter where we go, we know we want to serve in some ministry capacity and get our hands dirty.
- We feel like for our family's physical health, we need to leave Lima (allergies and asthma.)
I'm sure you thought that this list might be a little longer but NO! Believe me when I say that we wish we had a SUPER long list of things confirming the feeling that we are being called away from Peru but that's all I got folks.
Here are a few more knowns:
- We are still in the adoption process and hope to take our child (or children) back with us when we leave. We have been told that we have no problems with this so we are praying this is still the case.
- We both are going to need jobs. More specifically, Lee is going to need a job and I will work where and when I can:)
We have been extremely blessed with some possible opportunities for Lee but because we can't foresee the future, let me just say something real quick...
My husband is the most honest, hard-working, genuine, smart, savvy, strong and multi-talented man you will ever meet. The man can do anything and I'm NOT just being biased here.
I mean he is bilingual, has a degree in political science, master in international relations, certificate in conflict management or something like that (I think I drove him to get this:), has like 10 years in construction work, human resource experience, inter-cultural experience, started a non-profit (that is no small feat in a 3rd world country), was a property manager for a large hospital and dude the guy is just good (he's also hot so he could be an awesome poster face for your company, just sayin.)
So if you know of a job that is about changing people's lives, uses Spanish, uses politics, relational skills, building stuff, is exciting and pays enough for a possible family of 7, then let us KNOW!
That was his resume reduced to a short few sentences. All inquiries and job offers can be directed to Rleefletcher@gmail.com:)))
- *Family and friends in the US, you might want to skip this bullet point. We are open to living anywhere but a couple preferences would either be in Texas (specifically the Austin, San Antonio area) or Mexico. Those being our first two options we have talked about the fact that we aren't sure we necessarily are ready to live back in the US yet. All this to say we are open. This would take too long to explain so carry on.
- We would like our lives, work and ministry to still be involved in a Latin culture of some sort. This might look like a dual-language program for our kids at school, moving into a predominantly Hispanic area if we move to Texas, getting involved in Hispanic-based ministry and lots of other ways.
Wow, this is long. Hard to sum up the past 7 years and your future plans in a short post though. We can't thank all of you for going along with us on this journey though. We couldn't have made it without your prayers, your emails, your financial support, your visits, your care packages and so much more.
As with all big transitions we are going to ask for your fervent prayers in the next 8 months. We are going to need a LOT of guidance from God. We are asking for God to open doors WIDE or shut them HARD! We need prayers for our adoption process to go smoothly. We need prayers for jobs, decisions on where to go, houses etc... wow, this is getting a little overwhelming just typing this, haha! We are also raising a "settlement fund" that will help get us home, send us to a "repatriation program" and help with re-settling cost. If you would like more detailed information on this you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is to finally making this official. Trust without borders.... I'm pretty sure I'm going to need meds around month 6. For the love.
Costa Rica 2008 (yes, my hair was orange. Don't ask)
Arrived in Lima, Peru November 10th, 2009 2am. 4 year old, 2 year old and 5 week old. 15 bags, double stroller, 2 carseats and one diaper bag.
Abilene 2013. The craziness still continues...