We leave tomorrow. As we make the transition, I am aware of the strange fact that for the first time since childhood, I own no keys – no house keys, no car keys, no office or classroom keys, no mailbox key, not even a bike lock key. We are in the middle of leaving one kind of life behind and starting a new one.
These past nine days have been fairly hectic, especially since we made a major change in plans a week ago Friday. Up until then we had been planning to ship most of our possessions to Kenya, but during the last days leading up to the loading of our goods it became apparent that there were potentially going to be some major problems with our shipment. Rather than deal with those difficulties and uncertainties, we decided instead to go with the option of cash in lieu of shipping. Basically this means that the money we would have used to ship our goods is now available to us to refurnish our house once we get to Kenya. After making this decision, the challenging part was that we then had only nine days to give away, sell, or store a whole household of goods! Fortunately we had many friends and family who helped us with the process, and it actually went reasonably smoothly. Extra-special thanks this week go to Mike and Nikki Laskowsky, Kay and Will Roundey, Kimberly Linneman, Delores Desemone, Ben and Jamie Clausing, Devin Burmeister, Kate and John Thoelke, Kendall Cortright, Aaron and Kezia Nielsen, David and Radka Fiala, Kevin and Joy Golden, Andrew Nelson, Brad Biggers, and James Uglum. All these people helped us to “get out the door”, so to speak!
A memorable moment for me this past week came on Tuesday when I happened to tune in to a KFUO radio discussion of the seventh commandment. There were several church workers on the air sharing their insights (one of whom, ironically, was our good friend David Fiala), and one of the things they discussed was wealth and materialism in America. Their discussion really helped me put my week in perspective. Here I was, about to move to one of the poorer regions of the world, and I was stressed out because I had such an abundance of worldly wealth that a week seemed too little time to give it all away! Viewed from a larger perspective, the things that caused me stress last week were actually pretty trifling. I am reminded of St. Paul’s words to Timothy: “But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.”
This will be my last American post. The next one will be from Africa!