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Strangers in a foreign land. That was an appropriate title for us when we first stepped off the plane to the mission field in Asia Pacific. My family was about as far removed from our home culture as we could get. I was 5, Hudson was 3, little Kian was 1, and Asher wasn’t born yet.
Reflecting 12 years later, as we were stepping off a plane in Dallas, Texas in 2016 with 35 hours of travel behind our backs, staring at the flat, dry landscape as the sun went down, down, down . . . . It felt like we were once again the foreigners. Natives in a foreign land: America.
We have been back home for a couple weeks now after a four-and-a-half-year term in Asia Pacific. We’ll be based in the panhandle of Florida. Our quiet little town is called Niceville. (Yes, Niceville, and it is quite nice.) We love the ocean and anything associated with water, fishing, kayaking, paddle boarding, you name it! Florida is definitely, in our minds, an ideal location.
Being back in the States for a period of time to reconnect with people and catch up on life in the fast lane is what missionaries call "furlough" or "home assignment." My family will be here in the States for most of the year doing a bit of traveling, enjoying friends and family, and spending time with our home church.
It has been great to be back. We are readjusting from the leafy jungle to the concrete version and always finding new and exciting marvels that make us shake our heads.
Laundry dryers, unlimited electricity, insanely fast Internet, voice-activated talking GPS, climate-controlled housing . . . and the list goes on! I think the Western world is trying to make life easier and easier for us. When we found out that all you have to do is push a button to ignite my grandparent’s fireplace (complete with life-like yet fake logs . . .) we were amazed. It seems that manually putting your dishes in the dishwasher has become the most strenuous chore here.
Our jungle mentality still holds true. There are things about America we will probably never understand . . . . The other day Asher recounted his experience shopping at a home improvement store. He went along to shop for some landscaping necessities for a friend’s backyard.
When they went in and began checking out flowers, rocks, and dirt, he told me, “I just couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact that all these people were coming in to buy regular old rocks and ordinary dirt!” It was a strange and remote idea for him to even consider; I mean, we’ve grown up using the expression dirt cheap! Apparently that isn’t the case anymore. People actually spend hard-earned money on mankind’s most basic, common items, dirt and rocks.
While we are definitely looking forward to all the good memories we will make in America over the next several months, we are also aware that this is a new season for our family. And new seasons imply change. I (Morgan) will be starting college, and the rest of the family will be heading back to Asia Pacific to continue our ministry there.
We have plenty to learn, but we’ll figure it all out here soon enough. There are many exciting things happening over the next several months as we spend time in our “home away from home.” We are eager to see how the Lord will direct the plans and adventures for our family.
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