Been a long time since I posted any journaling’s. I apologize for my silence during a deeply felt part of our lives.
We savored Kenya with our colleagues and friends, in work and home. Ted was able to plug back in immediately with the Distant Boat. He felt deeply the cohesiveness and camaraderie of the OFM team, the sense of belonging and capacity to do more together as a team than as individuals. We were impressed at God’s goodness in giving OFM unity and creativity, humility, joy, and friendship. Very special summer. Ted returned to work the same day we landed, end of May; and in June Ted traveled to the coast and did reshoots and shot lists for gap filling in the movie’s visual storyline. He worked hard hours, long days, and loved every minute.
June 29th was a Multi-Family Garage Sale where we sold our things. Our dog Mitch stopped eating after the sale. African friends told us that he wanted to “go with us.” He was old and faithful, beloved and now gone. Even in his going, he was Old Faithful, and helper to the kids. His going forced them to deal with us going. And they can already speak of him, as all good memories can be spoken freely and often about.
July 2 was our goodbye time at the AIM AIR hangar. July 6 was a goodbye with a wider missionary community. At both, friends made us cry with speeches. Then they snapped the movie slate in front of our whole family and said “Take Two: Rurup Family Adventure” and prayed for us.
July 12-15 OFM retreated to a farm and cabins in Eldama Ravine. Millions of pink flamingos, games of horseshoe, cows Teah milked, and icecream from the same, the whole experience was spooned out of shared bucketfuls and overloaded our minds and hearts with gratefulness. And surrounded by all the families of OFM, Ted baptized our littlest son Timothy in the waters of the Bogoria hot springs.
Joy all mixed together with sadness trying to say goodbye to Africa. July 17 friends from Gatab village arrived, after days on the tops of semitruck, in the backs of pickups, in crowded minivans, or waiting in between each leg of the journey. It was a lovely generous African goodbye and lingered a few days. They began traveling back north again July 20.
July 20 we ate dinner with the Komens, a huge and lavish goodbye feast Mama Kip had cooked, food enough as if we had twenty children instead of only 4. Remember Simon and Lydia Komen took us in to live in their home with their family back at the start of our life in Africa, January, February, March 2001. Long-time friend Daniel Kiprop drove in from the city of Eldoret to be with us there as well. July 21 our Nairobi church prayed us out. July 23 we left Africa.
It was a time of a million decisions, and most of us feel like we need to sleep until next year now. We absorbed the visceral differences of being in Africa: a feeling in the air, the constant summer even in cold season, the smell of smoke that lingers through the city, the broken roads, the beautiful children, the warmth in the greetings and emphasis on hello and goodbye every day, the caring of African friends. The children each packed a locker and sorted through their things trying to find appropriate gifts to give to their friends to remember them by.
OFM’s core Distant Boat team achieved “picture lock” with marathon (all day and all night) sessions of work. Mid-July, the Distant Boat moved into finalizing post-production: song scoring, color correction, graphics, etc. Mission leadership decided they want to fly Ted out for the premiere and release of the movie. This meant a great deal to all of our family.
Many things the Lord brought together in ways we could not have. God helped 2 of our Samburu friends to make the horrendous journey from Gatab to Nairobi without a vehicle. They rode on the tops of semitrucks. They got stuck in villages with no food and only tea to drink. They traveled for several days working their way down. This was extremely loving and helpful especially since we could not make it up to Gatab this summer.
Another gift was who moved into our house after us- longtime friends. Handing over a lot of our things to them and imagining them in our dear little home made it all easier. It does not feel like we have abandoned ship. We left the work in very capable hands and left loved ones in warm embraces.
MY grace is sufficient for you, the LORD wrote in his word and a friend reminded me today. She read from Streams in the Desert, “Don’t make the facts of God into hopes and prayers. This is a fact. His grace is sufficient for us.” We were welcomed by a loving group at the airport. My mom brought 30 to 50 pounds of food. Mr. and Mrs. Frank Brown came with a vehicle to carry our 12 pieces of luggage. My old college roommate, her husband, and their 7 children drove up to the glass doors in front of Baggage Claim with a minivan for us to use, and a whole laundry basket full of food including 3 glass baking pans. She said, “You keep the glass baking pans!” They all not only welcomed us but drove us all the way from the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport to Wisconsin where Mr. and Mrs. Brown have welcomed us to stay indefinitely in their home. Generous, generous, loving, soft landing.
We have visited 2 churches since we landed, slowly exploring, finding a new church home. Jonathan and Collin will be attending Liberty Classical Academy in Maplewood, MN, and we are looking to buy a home near that school. Within a week, or actually on the eighth day of being in America, we made an offer on a little home very near the school. Last week that home was inspected and tomorrow it will be appraised. Maybe this is the home the LORD would have us in for the next “while”. My mom is doing well and my dad is doing well and uneventful summers behind them both. We are grateful to be in daily phone contact and frequently being able to be within arm’s reach of mom, being part of each other’s life.
Ted’s new work begins this week. He is studying how best to represent AIM and how to be an encourager for those God is calling into missions. We both need to learn to use a PC, and a new computer software, and we will set for ourselves a course of reading and learning on mentoring and management, spiritual leadership and discipleship training. I am really excited to work with Ted as much as can fit with the needs of home and family and homeschooling Teah and Timothy. Close friends and my mom maybe would advise that the first book I study is the one on time management? My start date is flexible and may need to wait until we get the children settled in school and a home.
I am really excited though to learn these things and to meet the people God brings into our lives. Working together with Ted is something that reminds me of Gatab. In Gatab our whole family was involved with the work of living and serving. He flew, we flight-followed, helped ambulance the injured or sick, or even gave blood to someone Ted had just flown in.
The precious life of Christ we see in the Bible, in our prayer life, and in other Christians inspires our tender heart for missions. African Christians became eternal friends; and we made missionary friends from every continent who have given up many things and found that it was not a sacrifice because of the worthiness of Christ. A missionary colleague wrote to me today about inviting people to know that if they accept Christ today and die tomorrow because of it, HE is that much of a treasure; that it is worth it.
The homemade acronym I have been pondering is attached the letters in the word VISION.
V…irtue- God working out the image of Christ in my life and daily situations
I…nspiration- trusting the Holy Spirit to energize the native territory of who I am
S…piritual Pursuit- prioritizing my first love
I…ntentionality- supporting flexibility with purposefulness
O…ld Friendships -honoring the gifts God has given
N…ew Friendships -opening my heart and time to strangers who may become friends
Right now we see through a glass dimly, but nothing is cloudy for God. “His eye sees” -Psalm 11. And as we come “home” to America, we are trusting in His vision. It is the Rurup family grand adventure.