The importance of community

This weekend was full of goodbyes. See ya laters. Until next times. Whatever you want to call them, it was very difficult. I wore my waterproof mascara and sunglasses to hide the fact that I’m an ugly crier. Leaving our friends and family is heart wrenching. But in all of it, we were reminded that the only reason it’s hard is because we are surrounded by the most wonderful and amazing community. People who have walked with us over the years and will continue to walk with us moving forward.

Six and half years ago when we left for South Africa we had maybe 20 people gather around us at a farewell open house. This past Saturday we had around 100 join in sending us off. It was an epic party! And it’s all because we have stepped out of our comfort zones over the last five years and become a part of meaningful, honest community.

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Our bounce house, farewell party extravaganza!

Kenny and I are both introverts. And God bless our kiddos, they turned out the same. We are totally content to spend time just us at home and we have to store up courage to venture out into situations where we’ll be surrounded by large groups of people we don’t know. So when we got back from SA in May of 2010 we didn’t have any friends. I mean I guess we had a few, but none that we would choose to go out with on the weekend. And honestly we didn’t mind too much. We enjoyed slipping in and out of church and saying hi to just a few familiar faces each week. We liked our routine and quietness, so we didn’t go below the surface with anyone.

Then Kenny got hired at our church and we had no choice but to meet new people and get involved in their stuff. It was part of the job description. Looking back I’m so thankful we were required to join in community because I’m not sure we would have done it on our own. We started a small group, hosted dinners at our home, and started getting to know people on a deeper level. Over time we found ourselves invested in families, praying for our new friends, celebrating with the joyful and mourning with the broken. It has been a great journey of faith to be vulnerable and honest, and to speak the truth in love. The Lord has revealed His character through relationships and we know Him better because of our community. We are sad to leave our people behind, be we take each of you with us as we journey on.

We couldn't miss our last chance for a church donut
We couldn’t miss our last chance for a church donut!

The time has come to reconnect with old friendships in Cape Town and begin to build new ones. We are excited and expectant for what’s to come for all of us, including the kids, as we invest in community on the other side of the world. And I’m so thankful for all the tools that will keep us connected with our irreplaceable team back here in this home!

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