Friday, August 31, 2012
Admittedly, I have been too busy. After I last wrote, which was a year and a half ago, Come before Winter hosted back-to-back renewals in Africa. We hosted 26 in Rwanda, May 23-27, 2011, then hosted 45 the next week in South Africa. Three renewals in four months was exhausting, but exhilarating. We couldn't help but think how God has blessed and matured the ministry for all of it to have gone so well.
Jeanene Reese and I taught our much loved Psalms curriculum in Rwanda, and Brooke Hollingsworth and Arlene Kasselman teamed up to teach the same material in South Africa. The renewal provided our younger teammates another opportunity to teach together before they opened their own Exodus curriculum in New Zealand this past June.
I arrived home to an announcement of sorts: I would be selling my house. Barry and I had talked for years of selling our two-story home near Pond Springs in Austin. Because all the bedrooms were upstairs and both of us have bad knees, we knew it had to happen at some point. While I was in Africa, he decided the time was now. I was shocked, but summer offers one of the few slower seasons for Come before Winter, so... we began. I needed to sell and move before the end of the year; if we hadn't sold by then there was no way I could do it, I said. Spring is tooooooooo busy for such (or so I thought). We returned to our house on New Year's Day, 2012, with firm plans to take the house off the market--but guess what? We had a contract. I won't bore you with the details, but we were out by February 1--without a home to move into. Did you know Come before Winter also offices in my home? What a season!
The next four months were a hurricane, and the whirlwind continues. In March, we hosted the "last" Psalms renewal in Ukraine. We also bought a house--with a projected completion and move-in at the end of March. We returned from Ukraine to publish all new materials before we opened Exodus in New Zealand in June. The event was FANTASTIC! Kudos to Brooke and Arlene who drove the project, and to Heather Hammock, Kelliann Hale, and Mariana Long, who developed major pieces of the curriculum. Somehow we managed the pretreat, other speaking engagements, pretreats, and planning sessions, and moving into my new home in MAY! Yes, (of course), it was late! We returned from New Zealand in June and left for a three-week trip to Brazil in July. I got home two weeks ago and have been celebrating my 40th wedding anniversary ever since (really). I have one more international teaching trip this year--to Panama for the third of four International Development Seminars with Spanish-speaking women's ministers from Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, and the southern US.
But then.... I am on "furlough." The board has granted me from October 22 until October, 2013, to be still, to pray, to re-imagine my ministry, and realign my spirit.
Thus, I plan to be writing more--and more reflectively. I plan to be still, to be alone, to listen and to wait. I hope you can witness the journey with me through this blog.