We are currently in the mad rush to get things finalized, packed, and ready for us to leave Peru for our 4 month "furlough". I really detest the word "furlough" right now... I guess from being raised in a military family where the word evokes images of R&R (rest and relaxation), shore leave, fun, time off, and vacation... it means nothing of the sort for us! In theory, we are supposed to rest and debrief and reflect while in The States -- but we are supposed to do that in between running all over kingdom come doing speaking engagements and dinner appointments and fundraising ventures! Some of our missionary friends are also on their "furlough" in The States right now, except their mission agency has changed the name to Homeland Mission Assignment (HMA) because in truth, we are "home" but still doing ministry and still working and still on assignment. Our friends say a more accurate name would be HMA = Hurridly Moving Around. I'm starting to agree with them... our calendar looks like anything BUT rest or relaxation!
Not that we're complaining. We are very excited to go "home" and see our boys and our families and our friends. We are very excited to be home for Christmas for the first time in several years. We will be home for Thanksgiving dinner. We will ring in the new year with friends. We're pretty excited! But we're pretty worried and stressed, too. Re-entry Shock is rarely pretty or easy and it is a very real issue for people who are out of the country and out of the culture for so long. Thankfully, there are people at home who are aware of this and they are already putting things in motion to ease our re-entry... people who have arranged for our short-term housing, groceries, transportation, etc. We thank God for these good friends!!!
Leaving here (Peru) won't be easy. It has become our home. We love the people we live and work with. We love the ministry work here. We are tightly connected to our students and the community. It will be rough. Friday, the communities of Iscos and Patarcocha combined in an effort to give us a going away party... see the photos for the story.
2. Mama Elva gives a going away speech
3. The children and moms danced and sang
4. We played party games
5. We had a "who can design the best outfit out of newspaper and toilet paper" contest