December 16, 2010

E’s Update: Great News

Hey dear friends,

Greetings from the USA. You are all well I hope. I have to apologize for recently not being as good about keeping everyone in the loop as I maybe had been in the past. With all the crisis work and travel I just sort of zonked out.

So here’s what’s going on. I promise it’s anything but boring:

The reason for our abrupt departure was that until we had a chance to assess the security concerns/incidents in our town (which had been many before the crisis) we would not be able to work in the villages anymore. In addition to that, my roommate and I needed a chance to debrief and rest after the intense crisis work. Essentially we needed to, as individuals and family units, reach a conclusion about whether we could continue our work in the remote regions of the area given the worsening security in the immediate region—and, if not, what we would do. So we scheduled a meeting Stateside to discuss and seek discernment and that’s where we are now.

In the meantime a bomb went off on the airport road (three hours after we left town) and the last friendly foreigner in our town apparently narrowly escaped yet another kidnapping — just to give you an idea of what it is like these days out there. It’s not life or death all the time, but it’s enough to where the oppressiveness of it would hinder us from thriving internally even if we physically were fortunate enough to be able to do our work.

So to that end we’ve been meeting for the past two days and with great results. Just to sort of wrap up the meeting so far:

1. We as a team are going to stick together
2. We will go back
3. We will move to another (safer) city where we know a lot of foreigners and locals
4. We will set up a plan to be able to make friends doing good work for the next two years

And basically from this moment forward we are working on those things, particularly #s 3 and 4. We have the city picked out and we are working on organizational connects and other pieces to the puzzle, but it really is pretty amazing how it has come together so quickly. Just today we went from having a nebula of confusion and angst over both the truncation of our work and the fogginess about the future—to having a clear sense that we have really been guided toward this other place with this other group of people. The circumstances very clearly have opened up for us in a way that we never would have expected.

So, long story short, as things look right now I will be going back in a few months to restart in a new area, but with the same goal and with the same team. Awesome.

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I guess I started out this out-of-country period with some frustration and negativity, feeling that I had just gone through a huge two-year process of gearing up to leave and wanting to be in Central Asia for 2+ years and yet here I am back again after 4.5 months. But now I see that I have a lot to be grateful for, including for this time of intense confusion and loss of control over my own life. I see that there are great things that have been given to me so far—teaching at the hospital, helping with NGO work, helping English undergraduates, learning the language, making friends, traveling to some truly remote regions, and of course being able to help with the crisis work. I am amazed at the gifts around me.

I think that we all want to be led or guided to the right things—but we are infrequently willing to experience the feeling of losing control over our circumstances. And so we miss out on the joy of truly good shepherding. It has been good for me to be forced into a situation where I have had basically no say in the way that the hard facts of reality have impacted everything about my life—what continent I’m on, what work I can do, whose couch I sleep on, what I can eat, how I am having to spend money, what my options for the future are, what my relationships will look like, who I am around, etc. And it has been hard wrapping my head around it, even with all the great people around me being so hospitable and kind. But again I see the grace and mercy in it. And I am grateful to God for all of it. There are still great things in the works for me to find my way into and participate in.

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And that’s all for now,
E

[Photo by evanistan @ Flickr]

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