What an amazing year 2016 has been!
What an amazing year 2016 has been! If you follow us on Facebook, you most likely know that we have moved, sold our house in Kansas, traveled 10,000 miles across the USA in our van over the summer, moved to Michigan and into my (Wendy) parents’ home, started the kids in a new school, and are moving to Costa Rica on January 2, 2017 to begin language school. Since you already know that, I want to use this opportunity to focus on what God had done and what he is continuing to do.
Story #1. Community, good goodbyes, and love. Churches and individuals alike talk about what it means to live in community, to have community, and to be a community. As we were preparing to leave our home in McPherson, Kansas we saw the true meaning of community lived out in the lives of our friends (which includes family, church family, school families, neighbors, etc.) People provided meals, lawn care, taking kids to orthodontist appointments, prepping the house for sale, packing, cleaning, moving, painting, taking trips to help our stuff find new homes, and the list could go on and on. Over 30 people showed up to help us move out of our house, and two families stayed to see us off. To say we felt loved would be an understatement! Reflecting on this time in our lives, I see how community really is another word for the body of Christ. In some ways, it made it harder to leave, and in other ways it was a reminder of why we are leaving. The body of Christ (community) strengthened us so now in turn they could send us out to strengthen the body of Christ in Central America. Thank you, friends!
Story #2. Hellos, nice to meet you, and new friends! Our family had the privilege of attending a missionary training in August called MTI. This was like a pressure cooker for language learning, cultural training, and developing friendships. We were together for four weeks. We lived, ate, played and learned together. MTI provided training for our whole family and it was an amazing experience for each of us. A few of our takeaways include a common vocabulary that we can use to communicate with our children about transition, paradoxes, culture and languages. Other highlights include connections with other families doing this crazy thing called missions and cross-cultural living, interactions with former missionaries and third culture kids, and learning tools to help learn language and make connections in our new culture. But the best gift was the community. We made friends that will be life-long friends. Besides making new friendship at MTI we were also blessed to visit friends along our partnership building route this summer. It was encouraging to see the body of Christ as we traveled. And it is the body of Christ that is supporting, encouraging, and loving us as we continue to trust God on this journey.
Story #3. Transition. The definition of transition is the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another. It has been difficult as a parent to watch our kids move from one transition to another. First, they left their schools and friends in Kansas. We traveled all summer ending up in Colorado at MTI. At MTI, they made new friends only to leave them 4 weeks later. They started a new school a week after the other students started and they will say goodbye to their new friends in Michigan and say hello to even newer friends in Costa Rica in January. To say it’s been difficult would be an understatement. My heart has broken for our kids’ loss of friends and normalcy during each transition. And yet (I love the word yet!), like a caterpillar must transition from a familiar state to an unfamiliar state to become a beautiful butterfly, I also see God at work in our family, and we too must trust him as we move from the know to the unknown. Our transformation has not been as dramatic or as quick, but God is doing something amazing in our family and the lives of our children. God is using these transitions to create the experiences each of our children needs to become the godly man or woman He has created them to be. And it has been exciting (and a little scary) to be on the front row watching.
We are excited about the year ahead. We are looking forward to what God will teach us and how he will guide us. We are thankful that God has been leading and guiding our every step. We realize that we are participating in just one aspect of the Great Commission, and that you are also learning and growing in faith and service. We would love to partner in prayer with you on your journey. Please let us know what God is doing in and through you and your community. Use our contact information below to share with us how we can participate with you and your ministry through prayer, partnerships, and opportunities. Likewise, if you would like to keep up with our stories of what God is doing in Central America, email us and let us know.
May the Peace of Christ be renewed in your soul this Christmas,
Wendy (for the Lorenzes)