Our family has been in the States since August 27, traveling from place to place, visiting numerous congregations and reporting about our work in Tanzania. Today we arrived in the community where we lived for six years, previous to our move to Tanzania – rural Iowa. It has been a very strange experience for us. It seems like nothing has changed, except us. We went out to our house, which is still up for sale. Bad time to sell a home in rural Iowa. Anyway, we spent a few hours there, cleaning and checking on things. Even our cats were still there. Now before you assume that we abandoned them when we left, we did not. Our neighbors (half mile away) agreed to take them for us. They even put them in their barn for a few days, hoping they would learn that it would be their new home. Nothing doing. They promptly returned to our house. So, our neighbors kindly feed them there, and they seem happy and healthy.
As I was saying, it seems like everything is just the same. The people are the same, seeming to be content with status quo. It’s like we’ve been gone a week or a month, not a year and a half. While taking a break from our work, our family discussed how we felt about things - do we really miss living here, do we miss the house, do we regret moving away? Sure, we miss living in our nice home. We miss the peaceful countryside. But would we want to move back? No way. Even though we loved living in the country and we relish the good memories that we made living there for six years, we’d never be content to go back and continue as before, even when we compare our living conditions here to our living conditions in Africa. Although we may go without some things, and we don’t exactly have some of the comforts that we enjoyed while living in the States, each of us in our family has changed, for the better we hope. I think we will always want to live somewhere, some way, so that we can make a great difference in the lives of others. Living in Africa will do that to you.