We arrived back to Nicaragua in May with a lot on our minds. We spent a majority of the plane ride home, mentally going through our house, pricing and figuring out what we were going to sell. Then we began to talk about how we were going to break the news to our friends, both Nicaraguan and missionary friends that we have become so close to. Oh, how we didn't want to have to do it. If we thought there would be an easier way, we would have found it, trust me! We knew it would be so hard.
When we arrived, we were so glad to be back, but sad because we knew it was for such a short time and we were going to have to say goodbye.
Roger had a conference in Puerto Cabezas, in the northeast, less than a week after we arrived, we also had to get school supplies out to the schools and communities, and we had a clinic in just days. We had a lot going on right away, but also had the impending move in the forefront of our minds. We realized we couldn't think about leaving yet and had to focus. Once we finished those tasks we'd hit it with full force, and did we ever.
I was feeling the weight of all the logistics...selling, packing, leaving. It's always a balancing act, as people leave, to have just enough stuff left behind so you can live but not too much where you are having people in your home up to the last day picking things up; and packing all at the same time. We were talking with some friends of ours one night via Skype (pretty sure God inspired the invention of Skype...amazing) and she gave us a great idea. Sell, pack and get out of your house early, rent a furnished apt. so that you can have time to spend with the people you want to spend your last weeks with, friends. I literally felt the weight of the world lift from my shoulders. It was such a freeing moment. We immediately called some friends of ours, missionaries, who happen to have a guest house. God answered our prayers, they had the house free for nearly 3 weeks so that we could use it.
We began to get serious about this purging thing. Everything must go!!! We could only move back with suitcases and totes. So if it wasn't really important or too big it was sold or given away. Now, don't get me wrong, there were things that were important that we parted with, but it was tough to make the cut :) We were also blessed by some other missionary friends who had teams that were coming down that offered to take some totes back for us; who also happened to live close to where we were moving to...God again!!! I really wasn't for sure how we were going to scale everything down from 9 years of living, and accumulating, to 8 suitcases. God must have known we needed the help. And the kids were grateful too. There were just things that were hard to part with for them, and as a parent, it's hard to ask them to do such a hard thing sometimes. They were already giving up and leaving everything they had ever known.
Well, within a few weeks we had everything sold. It was a very liberating, but sobering realization. This move was really going to happen. I was trying so hard to stay focused on the logistics that when we finally had a chance to catch our breath it hit me hard. We were really saying goodbye to our lives of 9 years. We were really leaving the work in the hands of our new directors there. We were really saying goodbye to so many friends that had become more like family. We were really leaving it all behind.
We spent the last few weeks working with our new directors, Michelle and Eliseo, making sure they were ready to take over the Nicaragua projects and work. We also took every opportunity to spend time with our friends there, both missionary and Nicaraguan friends. We tried to enjoy the last days to the fullest. The goodbyes were, by far, the hardest. Not knowing when the next time is that we would see them. We are still planning on visiting Nicaragua, but after spending year after year with these families, birthday parties, weddings, babies, it just doesn't seem the same to maybe get to see them once a year. It's still hard to think about it. We miss them all so much.
But God had asked us to do something for Him. And we knew it. He had asked us to leave our country behind. To follow Him and His leading. To be obedient in the midst of difficulty, when it wasn't what we wanted. Not our will but His. He had been faithful to us during this whole process. He worked things out before we knew we needed it. Our truck sold in days, we had a house to live in, we were able to bring more suitcases back with us, and just a few weeks before we left Nicaragua we had already found out we had an apt. that would be open for us to rent within 2 days of landing in the States. The hand of God had been over us and seen throughout this whole time. I know it would have been so much harder had we not known without a doubt that this is what God was calling us to do. His peace, in the midst of sadness, reigned in our hearts and minds. Don't get me wrong, there are still days that are hard, but I know God will see us through.
July 10th we landed in the States. Two months and 5 days after we returned to Nicaragua. What a crazy two months they were. Without God, I don't know how it could have come together....but I wouldn't have wanted to go through it without Him.