We haven’t shared much since we’ve been home on furlough, mostly because it looks very similar to what many have been experiencing. In case you suspected we dropped off the planet, here’s a rundown of the past (almost) year for our family!
When it came to furlough, we didn’t know what to expect. From other missionaries, we had heard the whole spectrum of opinions, from those who loved it and connected and replenished to those whose former world had grown apart and they longed for their home on the field. The point in time in which we left for the US saw me tired, ready for rest and looking forward to furlough, even while Rhett accepted the break from ministry with reluctance.
The America we returned to was one that was both familiar and shockingly different as we plunged into a world of masks and sanitizer and zoom calls. For me, it was a huge blessing as we faced an empty calendar with plenty of time to recharge and rest and with little to no expectations to meet or appointments to go to.
As time went on and things started to open up more and more, we were able to slowly start connecting with people, sharing in churches and telling everyone we could how God is working in Kovol.
Given the differences in social freedom between our home bases of Wisconsin and California (among other reasons), we decided to stay in Wisconsin until mid-January. Summer came and while many places were still closed or limited, we were still able to spend a lot of time with family and friends and even had the opportunity to do some fun things with the boys!
Though we knew it was coming, and we knew it would be hard, we had our first major set of goodbyes right after Christmas. I may write more about that later but suffice it to say that it was hard. SO hard. Harder than it was when we left for the first time but He is worthy. He is worth every tear.
Going to California is always a big culture shift and while it brought warmer weather it also brought more restrictions. Thankfully we were eventually able to get more connected even if the opportunities were limited.
We also started dedicating a good chunk of time and resources to preparing to return to the field. Everything has been more complicated than in the past but we are grateful to know that, right now at least, there is an open road for us to return. Since some supplies are hard to get in PNG, these last months have seen many Amazon packages at our door as we try to make the best use of the space we have in our luggage on the way back. We are also working on trying to undo the furlough pounds we put on in Wisconsin!
For those of you who have encouraged us, prayed for us and listened to us: thank you, thank you, thank you. It means the world to us to have a support system to return to, church homes to care for us and friends who care about what life has been like the last few years! Your involvement is so important and precious to us!