Sunday, July 29, 2012


           Suzanne and I have now completed our first week of training with Wycliffe. If you are wondering why we are going through a two-week training program when we are already members and have been teaching in Germany for several years, let me give you a quick review. Since Suzanne and I were members of different missions when we got married, we decided to join Wycliffe together and Suzanne then had to go through orientation. Being married meant that I would join her in that endeavor.

            Preliminaries being out of the way, what have we been up to in this orientation? Well, many things, but one that stood out was a session on missionary kids. Have you ever been in a room where a speaker or presenter is giving a report on a group of people to which you belong? I was not the only MK in the room, but I did feel pressure to speak on behalf of MKs, and something I have always resisted is being put in a box. I suppose that’s a characteristic of a missionary kid. J Anyway it got me into a little bit of self-conscious navel gazing but it also made me think about many of my friends and family who are in the same strange boat as I am. No two MK experiences are quite alike, even with siblings growing up in the same place. As such, I have tried not to judge or make assumptions about how and why an MK acts the way he or she does. Now that I am a teacher at BFA, I am in a position to work with these kids, and I have to figure out how best to do that. I must confess that I often feel at a loss.

My small group guys ~ a weekly dining/discussion event.
            I do believe that I learned something this past week in part from a Facebook post written by a BFA student who I led in a small group for the past three years. He wrote me a very kind note thanking me for being his group leader and stating that he was going to miss me this upcoming year as I will be in the states. It touched me because, quite frankly I had felt so inadequate as a group leader and usually bemoaned my inabilities to Suzanne, who being the encouraging and loving wife that she is, and wise as well I might add, kept encouraging me. It’s interesting when you want to feel bad about yourself but someone you love refuses to let you. She kept urging me to take the long view and to just be faithful in doing what I could, but I confess to dwelling on darker feelings. Then I got this message, and it made me realize that even though I did not have all the answers and the life changing Bible studies, what can often matter is just showing up and caring. It’s true that even though I felt that I was not a great small group leader I care deeply about the young men in my group and pray for them especially now heading into their senior year.

Fun signs from our travels. Who knew Larry had collectables?
So take heart if there are situations in your life about which you are discouraged. Sometimes we seem to struggle on for a while without seeing the results of that effort, and quite frankly, most of the time we never do. But every once and a while we get a glimpse; a signpost on the road telling us we are walking the right way.

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