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A majority of the boys’ lives have been spent here in Asia Pacific. Morgan was 5, Hudson was 3, and Kian was 18 months old when we moved here. Asher was born here. Usually after a “term” of service here, we spend a few months in the States on what missionaries often call a home assignment or furlough. We use this time to share firsthand what is happening with the ministry the Lord has given us. It is a time to catch up with family, friends, and our home church.
We are coming up to the end of a four-year term, and it is almost time for one of those trips back to the States! Four years is a long time in the life of a young person, and a lot has changed since the last time we were home. As we anticipate our trip home, a lot of dinner-time discussions lately have revolved around how things are in the States. Just the other night Asher heard me saying something about cooking on an electric stovetop oven, and Asher said, “Wait a minute! Electric? Is there a flame? How does it work?” You can tell the wheels are turning as he is trying to wrap his mind around this concept in comparison to cooking on gas or wood for all these years.
So that brought up past discussions and scenarios that are always good for a laugh.
The first time we were on our furlough, we had been in the States for a few weeks when we all piled in the family van to head to the store without Mike. I got into the driver’s seat and Morgan panicked, “Mom! Can you drive?” Sigh. “Yes, Morgan, I learned to drive when I was 16.” Up to that point I hadn’t done a lot of driving in Asia Pacific, so we had taken public transportation or Mike had driven us around in a mission car.
Another time when we arrived in California at an international airport, we were walking through the terminal and all the boys were staring at people drinking from water fountains. After living in Asia Pacific and filtering all the water we drink or cook with, drinking straight from any water source was a shock, but water from a public receptacle straight from where someone else just drank was just too much for them to take in.
In Asia Pacific, we dry our clothes on a clothes line. An electric, in-your-house clothes dryer? What a concept! It was unanimous—the boys thought it was great. Not to mention that you have 24-hour, round-the-clock power to run it. You can do laundry any time during the day.
Learning to make eye contact again, maintaining acceptable space between cars, dishwashers, carpet, people wearing shoes inside, mailboxes, newspaper deliveries—these are just a few of the wonderful differences in culture that my boys quickly pointed out. All of these are very funny memories of realization when re-entering our passport country. I am sure there will be many more to come. America, here we come; we can’t wait!
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