August 18, 2017 | Melissa Weissenberger
We’ve been “home” for 1.5 months now, but yesterday was the first time that I heard:
“You look happy”.
Chris and I were sitting at a table in his mother’s kitchen, where we’ve been having breakfasts together and occasionally working across from each other on various projects and tasks. I knew what he meant, even though he elaborated for me. I look consistently happy in a way that I haven’t appeared in years.
If you’ve been keeping up with us, you are well aware that we went on an approximate 4,034.7 mile trip starting in Northern Virginia, heading down to West Palm Beach, Florida, and then all the way up to Southwest New York State and back.
We got to hug and laugh with so many of you who mean the world to us–we recreated a sense of community and belonging which we’ve desperately missed. Our souls soaked up the incredible landscapes of the East Coast. We had alone time where the two of us could be silly, could sing along at the top of our lungs to 80s music, could dream and wonder without expectations.
That is an actual photo taken by Chris at our campsite in South Carolina. Nature was a balm to our souls, reminding us of the splendor of Christ and the place we hold in this universe.
But imagine this: you’ve spent 2 years away from home and when you arrive, you don’t have a home anymore (since you were renting the first years of marriage anyway), and then 10 days after arriving, you embark on this madness. The left image was July 15-30th, the right August 2nd-12th.
It was a blessing to find peace within the madness when we could, but the road certainly took its toll.
I think it’s insane how much my body adores, worships, idolizes, and craves stability. It’s a struggle that I’ve had to surrender to the Lord for the entirety of my walk with Him because He called me to move from my small hometown to NYC for university, then transfer to a university in DC, then study abroad in England, then spend a portion of a summer in Sierra Leone, then live a year in Bolivia, then live 2 years in Virginia, then 1 year in Pennsylvania, then 2 years in Bolivia again… and now here we are.
But we’re 6 days into being “home” indefinitely. We’re in Virginia staying with my loving and generous mother-in-law who could not have given us a nicer and more low-key environment for rebuilding our lives.
And Chris is right–it feels good. I think as we reflect on the past two years of overseas ministry and prepare for this new “season” of ministry Stateside, there are plenty of lessons we can take away about boundaries and time management, but ultimately in these days I’m rediscovering the importance of rest.
Which is ironic, because in 2015 (2 months into our time in Bolivia) we flew to Panama for a mission-wide conference celebrating 100 years of ministry and the entire focus was on “rest”.
But I digress: giving ourselves the grace and the space to rest, and allowing ourselves to look back on all that God has done through us, or in spite of us, or within us, has easily been the most revitalizing process. It makes me grateful that we don’t have all of the answers right now about our future because I have the time to intentionally devote myself to caring for my body and my soul in a way I neglected while we were overseas.
We are still moving to Charlotte, North Carolina! What was once a concept, or a hope, is becoming a reality and we’re beyond excited to begin. I am officially joining the South America Mission home office as a writer, helping the mission tell our story better, connect and expand our network, and engage our community in a way that continues to proclaim the gospel in South America and tell the world about the incredible ways in which God is working!
It feels good to say that we’re “mostly funded” and to look at the logistics of moving with confidence. We’re aiming for our monthly support to be around $1800 and we’re currently at $1500/month–would you pray about joining our financial support team? As I transition to working with our home office and as Chris looks forward to occasionally collaborating and supporting the mission, we would love to have the financial freedom to function in whatever capacities are necessary to contribute effectively to the mission and ministry.
It’s an exciting and enjoyable season for us. We love you all and if we haven’t seen you yet–reach out! We’d love to plan time with you when we are able.
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