Yesterday we went to our house to meet with the estate sale coordinator and to see what didn’t sell. Although many things were gone, among the pieces of furniture that were left were some of my favorites… a cool old open shelf from my dad’s store that has housed our children’s toys since they were tiny; a pine chest of drawers with geometric detailing that was just the right height for a changing table, where everyone’s diapers were refreshed; and worst of all, our lovely king sized bed with the mattresses that we both liked, the one item we really really wanted to ship to Peru. Now they were all being donated, like inconsequencial driftwood. That hurt.
Yet, “11 I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
12 I will consider all your works
and meditate on all your mighty deeds.” Psalm 77
The Lord has been marvelously faithful to us. Here’s a little story about possessions and home. We had been planning to take a shipping container of furniture and household goods to Peru, where we would need to establish our home from scratch. However, in Costa Rica, we will have a furnished home, rented from year to year by students of the Spanish Language Institute. Therefore, we were going to store the Peru-bound stuff for the intervening year. We had been sorting things for months in boxes marked “Peru,” “Costa Rica,” or “GS” for garage sale. Well, not too many boxes yet, but you know…
In mid-July Will was corresponding with some of our Diospi Suyana pals about the shipment. They both advised him not to ship a container because it would be too hard to get it out of customs in Lima. This required a readjustment of our thinking, mostly emotionally taxing for me. For a few days we played with the idea of trying the shipment, since others had successfully done it. God granted me more peace each day with letting it go and moving only in suitcases. The day after we definitely decided (we “took the decision” as they say in Spanish) not to ship anything, we got a surprising email from our friends the Bradys, a missionary family in Curahuasi.
They asked if we would like to rent their furnished house while they are on home assignment in Austria and Germany for three years. They built this peaceful place themselves on a hill just up from the hospital and have established a gorgeous garden. Klaus, the hospital director, joked that it is the nicest house in town. When we ate dinner with them, the power went out, but from what we could tell, it was a beautiful home. Wow. I felt like God was saying, “I abundantly provide and I’ve got you covered.” We wouldn’t have needed our furniture for at least a few more years.
While we live in the Brady’s house, we can prepare/ renovate another house in town for our family, even have our furniture made by the carpenter the other families have used. As a side note, the down side is that the Bradys will not be in their house. This family was incredibly welcoming and lovely. I had been planning on Dorothea and I being good friends and their precious children being our kids’ new chums. I will trust God to fill that gap too.
So now we are trying to fit our things into 12 or so big suitcases, all measuring 62″ or less, 50 pounds or less. We’ll also take a carry on and a backpack each. It is like an enormous jigsaw puzzle. We are living with my father, which is a blessing, but the jigsaw puzzle is spread out all over his dining room. Sorry, Dad! One thing that several missionaries have told me is that now you must accustom yourself to live out of a suitcase, a big one! You have to literally live out of a suitcase while on furlough and as you settle into new places, but you have to be willing for God to move you about. You have to learn to live with several “homes,” your home country and the one you serve in.
The other day I was prompted to find Psalm 90, the one that the great traveler Moses wrote. It begins, “Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.” What an amazing prayer. I join with Moses in asking that truly God Himself would be my dwelling place.