|Jana and her sister Debra|
Even though at first I had felt such peace when Dave brought up the idea of us moving to the U.S. for a season, this was no easy decision. East Africa had been our home as a married couple for 19 years and my home for the first 8 years of my life with additional 2 - one year seasons.
We ( Dave and I ) had really grown up here. We were so young and idealistic when we first moved to Uganda in 1993. The African people and culture had shaped us in many ways. The value of relationship over time, sense of community over individualism, generosity and hospitality; but also the persecution that comes from being on the cutting edge of life, has also really shaped us.
I love watching God's transforming power in peoples lives! Seeing God at work through my weakness and Him taking the "little things" that I have done and make them life changers in others. I love God plus me and I have really grown to love a special group of people that God has called Dave and I to serve!
One of things I realized as we were processing this decision was the people group we feel called to serve is not confined to East Africa-- in fact many do not live here but are scattered--- so in some ways as God was calling us to be scattered-- we were joining others--walking a similar path.
But I am getting ahead of myself. As Dave and I began to process this decision we needed our community to help us. I think that most of us who are from a more western society tend to make decisions primarily on our own. We my ask advice from others but ultimately we believe the call is up to us. This is a different decision making pattern then we had learned in East Africa. Decisions are made in community. You call your community together and talk and talk and talk ( as Christians you also pray together) listen a lot and then over time the way is made clear. We began to do this process. I think some of our expat community who were used to individual decision making thought we may be crazy, but after several weeks we answered God's call to transition to the U.S for a season.
|Handover of Gabe, our foster baby, to the Jacobs|
I think in many ways this was a harder call to answer then when He had first called us to Africa 2 decades earlier. But what begin to help us was hearing our community speak blessings over us and seeing our relationship network that God had given us spill over into the U.S. We have been called primarily to serve a segment of society on the move-- thought leaders-- influencing those of influence- calling leaders to the transformation power of Jesus in their lives and seeing it spread through those that they are leading and influencing.
This can be a mom who everyone in her community comes to for advice, government leader, university student, or youth leader. In Rwanda where we were living there is a lot of this group that has been in transition-- because of persecution,turmoil and ultimately genocide --many had scattered. They call themselves the Diaspora -- many had returned to Rwanda but many were also still living a broad. It was interesting that shortly after we answered the call-- we found as many as 9 children and relatives of our CCR community( Christ Church in Rwanda) that lived in the greater Chicago area ( since moving we have met many more ).
Back to my University days of early missionary training, following relationship lines was something that my Mission professors pushed. So even though we were going to move to the other side of the World God was showing us that that was were our relationship lines were going.
|CCR's 4th Anniversary|
A beautiful gift that God gave us was being commission and prayed for by the church plant that God had used us to start. As my brothers and sisters laid their hands on us and sent us out from Rwanda to the U.S. to serve , I was filled with peace again--- there were still a lot of unknowns but I could REST IN FAITH.