We bought our plane tickets for furlough! I am so excited and nervous at the same time. Excited to see family and friends, get books and stuff (America’s great for that!), and visit churches; but also nervous that I won’t remember how to make conversation anymore :), and nervous about the many lists that need to be crossed off before we get on that plane. Not to mention nervous about the plane trip itself with 4 kids just barely 6 years old and under.
Here’s a snapshot of some of those lists that need to be accomplished before a missionary crosses continents for months at a time.
1. Homeschooling. We’ll be in the States for exactly 4 months. I’m pushing forward now with homeschooling. My goal is to finish half of the school year before furlough and the second half after we return; and we are well on track to do that, if I can just keep swimming, just keep swimming. Whew! I’m ready now for that break, though!
2. Seminary. We timed our furlough to coincide with Seth’s finishing his long-distance master’s degree. But it’s going to be tight. He is for all practical purposes done with his very last course, except for his thesis. He will start that very soon, and hopefully finish it before we leave for America. If he can’t finish before we leave, he will complete it hopefully by the end of May.
3. LBI. The semester ends right after we leave, as our teammate will administer Seth’s exams for him. Then we will come back only one week before its next semester begins. So all the preparations and thought that Seth may need to do before that time (September) really should be done now.
4. Church. We have to arrange for our church to be cared for while we’re gone. We have a pretty well-laid-out plan for this so far, planning for our children’s, youth, ladies’, and church meetings. This includes attempting to raise the money for, purchase, and build a fence on our new church property; as well as to write and ratify a church constitution in order to obtain the government paper proving our ownership of the property. Today, Seth spent the morning in town selling Bibles and books with a couple of our church members, and this afternoon he is digging post holes with some of the young men in our church. Tonight he will finish his sermon and write a constitution! 😛
5. Home. The home needs to be secured and a plan made to prevent thieves from breaking in. It needs to be deep-cleaned and organized, and many things stored and made bug-proof. Much of this still needs to be done. Food needs to be used up so the freezer can be turned off.
6. Lists. Several lists need to be made to help organize our thoughts before we go, so we don’t waste time in America, and so we remember to do and get everything we needed to do and get. It’s a little overwhelming.
7. Furlough calendar. A schedule needs to be made of visits to supporters and friends around America. This is almost done!
8. Plane tickets bought. Done! Yay! Definitely feels more real then! The rush is on! We’re coming!
9. Organize a home and a car and clothes for the children for furlough. Done! Thank you, dear family. I try to leave our suitcases practically empty, so that we can bring back as much as possible, so we borrow clothes for the children for our furlough, as much as possible.
10. Prepare presentations for America. Seth decides what sermons to preach and how to present South Africa and our ministry in less than 20 minutes. 😉 I prepare one little devotional to give and practice the piano. Ooh. Need to do this! It keeps getting shoved out because of other duties.
And we try to make life as normal as possible for the kids during months of upheaval. If any veteran missionaries would like to share some furlough tips with me, please do. Can’t wait to see you all!