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Farewell to February

It has been the quickest February I can remember, and also one of the balmiest. Of course, we’re in California, but here in Shasta County February can be a month of chilly drizzle. This time two years ago, we were mired in almost two months of relentless rain. But the skies have been gloriously blue, in spite of a bit of a sharp breeze at times, and the weeks are accelerating as we approach our Italy mission trip.

We lost three people from the team when we had to book the tickets. I was deeply disappointed about that, and really don’t want to lose anyone else. I’m confident in my team, that they’ll make it. Most of them have enrolled for my Italian classes, which are as pioneer as the trip itself. But I feel safe with them, as a leader. They’re a powerful bunch and we don’t have to be a replacement parents – we’re facilitators, making sure their impressive gifts and faith and love get focussed in the right direction while we’re there. (Check out our mission blog – missionitalia.wordpress.com)

I’m grateful, as well, that we have a month between returning to Redding from Italy, and when we finally step on the plane to London Heathrow and end our three years here. Perhaps that’s why we’ve both been feeling slightly melancholic; the combination of focussed organizing of the mission and the looming Big Transition is doing funny things to our brains. We’re both revisiting questions of what a life well lived in the real world looks like; the value and challenges of being a working couple, and the ever-present but rarely-spoken issue of when (and where) we start our family. We are trusting God within the paradigm of knowing that most of these decision are a real choice; no longer simply sitting and waiting for things to happen to us, pressing forward and taking opportunities in front of us, while being aware of “toxic opportunity,” or being pressured into doing something that doesn’t reflect who we are and doesn’t provide for our practical needs as a family.

I enjoy this combination of big-picture, paradigm-challenging thinking, and the nitty-gritty of organizing a pioneer mission trip. And of course in the mix goes our care and concern for Italy, waiting anxiously to see how the elections turn out, and praying for the state and for the Church as they transition into new leadership. Never has international politics been so directly relevant to my life, and I love it.

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