We are going for a home assignment to our home countries in a few days. And my emotions are a roller coaster. I am even struggeling how to title this blog post: ‘How am I feeling about going home’? or ‘how I feel about leaving home?’. Don’t get me wrong. Germany is in a way a home, where there are people I love, family and friends… but Kovol has also become our home. Since 2008 I have been moving around, living in different guesthouses, and here in Kovol I have stayed not even the longest stretch but it is also a place that we can call our own. The question ‘where is home?’ gets even much more complicated for Philip. His mom grew up in Kansas USA, his dad is from the Faroes, Philip himself was born and grew up in Papua New Guinea. He is also a Danish and American citizen and has a German wife. His family lives now in Nebraska. Where do you think his home is?
I want to give you a little glimpse of how I feel. There are two feelings in me. I am really excited to see my family in Germany, friends and supporters. But my heart is also heavy as I have to say goodbye to people I love and have spent two and a half years with. Friends I have invested in and learnt a good chunk of their language. But it’s even more. My co-workers are also my friends and family that I have here. We have gone together through some hard things and some really good fun things. They are the ones who understand us more than maybe anyone here on earth. They also know so many of our failures and short comings and they still love us. They are amazing friends, coworkers, family and the church to us. So, leaving them behind is hard as well. Gerdine, Stacie and I had weekly Bible studies, our kids played together almost daily. So sometimes I just want to cry. Other times I am just super excited to see all my family, longterm friends and church which I grew up with. I am so glad for Philip’s love and grace and patience with me during this time. He has to put up with a lot with his emotional wife.
Right now we are trying to say our goodbyes and making last memories in Kovol, while preparing for our trip to Germany. Some of these goodbyes involve overnighting with kids in our coworkers’ house, coffee/tea time for our ladies Bible study, cooking a last meal with some of our landowners, having a ‘movie time’ showing something like Planet Earth to our Kovol friends as a team and hanging out with our Kovol friends as much as we can.
At the same time we keep preparing our kids for this transition. Timon will find it extremely hard to face ‘new things’. He was maybe 3 months old when he left Germany and now he is almost 3 years old. If he shys away from family and cousins and friends, even when we have shown him pictures of them, please understand. This is all very, very new to him. Both don’t really know how it is to ride in a train, see real traffic lights (they know it from books), see busy streets… oh and they don’t know many stores. They were sad as we finished our last yogurt a few days ago, which we had made ourselves. Louis said: “We should bring some of this yogurt to Opa in Germany.‘ I had to explain to him that Opa in Germany has a lot more options in yogurts and they are a lot nicer than the one we have here. Since then they talk about having nice yogurt with Opa =). Then he wanted to pack his old bleached-out towel to Germany. So I told him that we can’t bring everything oversees, so maybe we can buy him a new paw patrol towel. That made both kids very excited. Timon keeps talking about how others from our team such as Gerdine, Oscar and the Stous kids… will travel with us to Germany. I have to say, “No Timon, it is just us who will go and see Opa and Oma in Germany.” Then he thinks Germany is the same as Goroka… Oh dear. How can I even explain this to a 3 year old who has no memories of a first world country? He barely knows cars.
So when we come back to our home countries, we are already planning some fun trips with the family. But how will the kids handle this transition? We will have to see. We will all be missing our friends and ‘home’ over here and at the same time we will be very happy and excited to see family and friends and supporters in all our different ‘homes’. We are planning to go ‘home’ to Germany, the Faroes, Denmark and the US.
Talking about this, doesn’t it remind you of our eternal home? Jesus is preparing a permanent amazing place for us which we can’t even dream off. Then we will finally be really HOME.