Touching the Future

Think about today. Or tomorrow? How does it look?

I used to know what each day of the week would look like, more or less. Waking up to have breakfast with the family before heading to work. Thursdays up extra early to prep for in-depth Bible study. A bagel and black tea to help me focus (everything bagel midweek, plain bagel Sunday morning to make sure I don’t have any unwanted bits in my teeth for worship!). Thursday afternoons with the men at the Rescue Mission. Friday afternoons with the ladies. Thursday evening dinner with some of the Rescue Mission ladies at our house. Sunday evenings young adult Happy Hour. Saturdays finalize sermon prep. Wednesdays calls on members. Tuesdays a potpourri of getting the week started.

All of that is gone.

No office. Somebody else’s home. No routine yet. Working to establish those things but it takes time, and time to help the family with their routines as well. Everything up in the air. It’s not bad in any tangible way, just unsettled. And as we’ve talked about repeatedly, it’s a dry run for what we’ll experience when we deploy overseas, first to Taiwan and then again to Indonesia.

It’s easy to get lost in those transition times. To get down or frustrated or irritable. Each of us has up days and down days and we learn to accommodate and encourage, to give space as well as to surround each other with love. And we look towards the future as we take steps towards it now, steps that seem very small towards a future that seems very far away. But steps all the same.

Gena and I decided Saturday to see what sorts of Indonesian communities there might be in a large city like Phoenix. To our surprise, we discovered there’s an Indonesian-American church about 30 minutes north of us in Phoenix! Not Lutheran (Assemblies of God), but we wouldn’t be going for the theology so much as for the cultural experience. Would they worship in Bahasa Indonesian? What would it look and sound like? Would they be welcoming?

This morning we visited. It was a small community that gathered for worship, perhaps 20 or so people (not including the five of us!). But we discovered that small community not only had a healthy Indonesian contingent, but also people from the Philippines, India, Africa and Mexico. They worshiped in English (Bahasa is spoken at a Saturday night fellowship time). They were very excited to meet us, especially when they learned we would be headed to Indonesia soon. Several of them were originally from Medan.

Worship was different, but certainly workable. Not the Divine Service but thoroughly Christian and Trinitarian. Afterwards they swarmed us to talk and take photos. Some of them are from the city we plan to live in. Others come from different islands. Their excitement was truly refreshing during this time of transition, a touch of what we anticipate in heading overseas. We plan to visit with their community again later in the month during their Bahasa Indonesian fellowship time. We were able to try out a few words and phrases which they graciously corrected or affirmed, but we look forward to hearing the language at full speed, even if we don’t understand 99% of it!

And God is good in other ways as well as continue those small steps towards deployment and another world. Mika interviewed and has been hired at a pizza restaurant right around the corner from where we’re living. She’s very excited as this will be her first job other than babysitting and she’s eager for the experience (and to earn some money again!).

Alec and Gena both enrolled in an online TEFL – Teaching English as a Foreign Language – certification course. Upon completion of this 120-hour program (which can count for a few college credits as well for Alec), they will be certified to teach students whose first language is not English. It may provide networking or even job possibilities once we reach Indonesia, though that’s far from certain. There are schools for Indonesians to study and learn English and perhaps they could tutor or even teach for one of those schools. They’re both enjoying the course so far and enjoying a bit of friendly competition in terms of who is scoring higher on the tests for each module. Gena graduated Magna cum laude (Concorida Irvine) and is a bit competitive. This should be fun to watch unfold!

And we leave Friday for our midwest tour – please pray for safe travel and the Holy Spirit to connect us with people who also have an excitement for God’s work around the world!

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