Commissioning … and packing

Four weeks to go

The days are flying by in a blur of packing, visits to friends and family who we won’t see for a while, trips to the dump, completing forms and cancelling subscriptions. Leaving for Nairobi now feels very real – we fly four weeks today, on 11th January.

However, one recent day stands out: the 8th December was our Commissioning Service and we were so blessed by the encouragement we received from our church, from AIM mobilizers and from members of our family who were able to attend. The commissioning included vows made in the presence of God, by us and by the church, and we signed partnership agreement between ourselves, members of AIM and the church – a clear reminder that this is a joint commitment, not an individual endeavour.

Although we have supported other missionaries for decades, it is only recently that we are recognising just how valuable – indeed vital – that kind of support really is! And not just the prayer and finance, but also the practical help – with moving boxes, lifts to the airport, etc etc.

Lest anyone of us falls into the trap of esteeming the missionaries who go more highly than those who stay, we would say that such service ‘behind the scenes’ is itself a calling, a needed help and a service to God.

Thanks to the generosity of those partnering with us, we now have 96% of the financial support we need and we have the agreement of AIM to go as planned. We are very grateful indeed to all who are supporting us, and continue to pray that the remaining 4% will be committed.

Four questions

In any such transition there are things we look forward to and other things we will greatly miss. Here are four useful questions to ask ourselves:

  1. What do we look forward to? Returning to Africa – to be back in a place we grew to love even in two brief visits in 2010 and 2011; being useful on the mission field; being part of an African church; making new friends; keeping in touch with family and friends back home in new ways; sunny weather; living more simply; getting started!
  2. What will we miss? Water that you can drink from the tap; the seasons; our own home; our church family; the familiarity of everything we know and do; fast internet; and above all family and friends.
  3. What do we not look forward to? Being apart from family and friends; risks of ‘interesting’ diseases; Nairobi traffic jams; having to use insect repellent every time we go outdoors; frequent power cuts.
  4. What will we be glad to leave behind? Winter weather (hang on, I thought I’d said  we’d miss the seasons!); the excess ‘stuff’ we had accumulated over the years.

In the meantime, we wish everyone a blessed Christmas and a relaxing New Year!!

For those of you who pray, please pray:

  • For the final stage of our house-clearing and packing
  • That suitable tenants will be found to rent our house
  • Give praise that nearly all our finance is now committed, and for the remaining 4% to be given
  • That the meaning of Christmas will not be lost amongst preparations and goodbyes