Well, it’s been a long gap. The last several months were, well, frantic. After being back in South Sudan, we went to Kenya, back to South Sudan, Kenya, UK for Christmas, US for just under three months with lots of travelling, back to the UK and travelling all over there. And now, finally, in our new North African home. Nine months of marriage, thirty-six beds, no more than three weeks in one place and a grand total of ten weeks not living in someone else’s house or a hotel. And while we’re still in a guesthouse/apartment for the time being until we find our own place to SETTLE in, it feels good to finally get where we’re going.

We’re about two weeks in to life in Egypt. Only had a day overlap in the office with our director who is away now for a month for a much needed break. We’ve both been sick which is to be expected. New country, traveling, and finally stopping after going for so long. And now a longer season of transition into our new city, our new home.

Transitions. You’d think I’d be better at them by now. I have gotten better at knowing what feels to expect and what passes and better at taking it a little easier on myself at first. What helps a LOT is doing this with another person, and my favorite one at that. I went overseas planning on being in one place for a long time. Four-and-a-half years in and relocating to my third country was not the plan. It’s aggravating at moments having to be the new kid all over again. More roads and public transport and landmarks to learn! More relationships to establish and friends to make! But when you spend your teenage years praying that God will send you to hard places, one should not be surprised to find oneself in countries that are unstable and having to adjust accordingly.

So here we are, again, desperately trying to build the kingdom among people we love.

My life here in this new big city is going to be a lot different. Easier in a number of ways, for one. Less oppressive climate, more amenities, not living with lots and lots of children. And also because, for the first time in my life basically, I’ll mostly have normal scheduled working hours. In an office. Which is nuts. And kinda throwing me for a loop. In South Sudan and in my desert home before that, most of my time was spent hands-on working with kids and teenagers. As nuts and intense as my life was, there was at least the fact that I was doing life with these kiddos and the sense that that was something and that mattered. While I’ll still interact with refugees frequently in this role, my job is going to be far less hands on. I’ll be implementing and maintaining programs that not only help give people skills, but also help place them in jobs so as to give them a livelihood, and supervising local folks who are better adept with the more hands-on bits anyway.

The hope is that while it is less hands off, that it does stand to be more effective. Taking what I learned the last several years and hopefully using this opportunity to help change peoples overall situations. My heart is still absolutely with children-at-risk. The ones the world has not taken care of. And while in the day to day my life will not be in any way working with kids (sniffle), if I can help vulnerable refugee men and women provide for the children in their care, these kids won’t end up on the streets in the first place. So they are connected, even if my heart is mourning the loss of rapport with sassy kiddos on a day-to-day basis.

It feels right, though. This feels like the natural, right, next thing. The experience I’ve gained the last few years meeting the lots of things I want to learn about livelihoods projects in this perfect little role that lets me serve refugees from the last two countries I called home.

And now, this next bit, finding a place to live, and trying to find the peace in our hearts to settle in and put in roots after so, so much moving about.

Stay tuned to this space, if that’s what you’re into. Life has stopped moving so fast and we’re settling in and I guess that’s what I needed to be writing again. It feels good to be back.

Hope is
folding paper cranes
even when your hands get cramped
and your eyes tired,
working past blisters ad
paper cuts,
simply because something in you
insists on
opening its wings.
“Origami Emotion” Elizabeth Barrette

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