The good news took longer that we expected to announce, and it is not quite ready to be announced yet, but it is coming. We've spend the last year praying about the future, talking with trusted friends, advisers, and a few debriefing counselors. To a man, they have said the same thing. "You need to look for a different group to work with."
We struggled with that at first. Will people think that we are running away? We struggled with grief. We grew up in this organization since early teens. How can we leave family? But it became more and more clear that we had to leave.
We didn't know what to do. What would we do? It wasn't that we lacked job offers. In fact, it was almost the opposite - we had so many groups and organizations offering us jobs that it became confusing. We couldn't figure out what to decide. We committed not to deciding until we got some good debriefing - obviously from someone outside our organization since our organization hadn't a clue that debriefing is even necessary. So we waited. At times that was hard to do since we had some good offers on the table. But we waited.
Later in the fall, we took a few days to be away and just think. What is our bottom line? What is it that we see ourselves having a passion to be involved in? What other things are we also interested in? We narrowed it down to two main passions. We looked at our job offers and set down those that didn't line up with our passion that God gave us. There was a nice one in a nice area, but it was a job anyone could do; not one with my husband's specialized skills and passion. We then settled on one idea and began to research it.
We actually thought that perhaps we could stay with our group in a different home office in a different country and do this work, so we were happy. As time went on, two things happened simultaneously. First, we received two offers that lined up with what we were going to do. At the same time, we began to realize that it wouldn't be wise to continue with our group. We needed two things - a group to work with and a good sending agency. Both approached us. Both asked us to join. We shared our passion and dream with both, and they are excited. At the same time, a church contacted us and are committed to the work that we are going to and very interested in helping and partnering with us.
Everything is falling into line, and we are excited. I can not yet say what we are doing or where we are going, but I will be able to say soon enough. We are excited about the new organization (even though we have not formally joined) because we have heard good about them from people we trust and because we can see from how they operate that they are very different from our current one. They believe in member care. It is true, my husband said, that we do not yet know how well they put it into practice, but at least they have policies and plans and people doing it. Our current organization doesn't even have a member care person, not in the country we are being sent from - perhaps other sending countries do, but ours doesn't. So we are excited about the future, about working with an organization who understands that missionaries are people, and we will get tired, hurt, or worn out. Who understand that as we go through crisis and watch our friends be killed, we will be wounded and need to recover. So we look forward to the future.
This will involve a move, but the move will be an easy one. We are going to go to a place that is remotely familiar, and we are looking forward to it. We do not go under pressure, but when we are happy for it, which will likely be at the end of the school year, although the possibility of staying where we are for one more year has been offered to us as well. We will be praying about that.
We had a talk with some people in our current organization recently to break the news to them. We have told them that we are moving on, what work we will currently be doing, but we have not told them who we have been asked to join as our new sending organization. It is not a done deal yet, so we will not say. It was an interesting conversation with "Dick" and "Harry" each separately. Dick asked if you are alone, but must have thought my husband was alone, and not that we were alone because then he proceeded to speak badly of me and say that he doesn't want me back anyway. This was very interesting to us because he had publicly apologized for speaking evil of me to my husband and said he would never do that again. Yet here he was. We thought back to all the damage he has caused doing this and we were sad. We didn't answer him. We decided together that at this point there was no point in it. We have decided to move on, we move on together, and we can not change them, so we will not fight them. We will move on with dignity. My husband wrapped his arms around me and told me later that it doesn't matter what they think. What he thinks of me is what matters, and he chose me. Our meeting later with Harry went about the same. Harry did apologize just to my husband, "if the way we did this caused you pain". Got to love those apologies beginning with an "if"! We thanked him, and moved on. We did not yet tell Harry that we are moving sending agencies. We told him only about the new job, and we will tell him later about our new organization.
So there is sadness, and more recently there is pain at the way they speak, but there is a happiness, too. There is a certain sense of freedom to be away from a very odd situation. It was a situation where a mission team leader seemed to be wanting to divide husband and wife. This was even the comment of another team member watching this unfold over the years. Then into that came trauma and a total lack of care during and after the trauma, and a slow disintegration of our ability to function. Away from this leader, we have been healing. Even my youngest children have been saying, "Now that Daddy is not working in that place, he is nice. He never even gets upset anymore." Away from the close workings with Tom, Dick, and Harry, we've seen more how that leadership was not following godly principles. Stepping out of that enabled us to gain perspective. We move on wiser, wounded, but healing, and we move on together.
We have some months of walking through a transition. I have some days of working through rejection again at "Dick" and "Harry"'s words. We will get there. And growing in us is an excitement. What we are going to do is what we dreamed of doing in our last organization, but were never given the freedom to do. Who we are going to be with is people who have known us since our early teens as well. What we are setting out to do is impossible. We know that. but what we have just done was impossible, and God did it, so we laugh at the impossibility of it and set out with excitement to see God do it again. We head out wiser. More aware of the effects of certain mistakes and more careful of how we lay the ground work. But our hearts are free. Whatever we face, we will do it together, we will do it with the help and support of others, and we will go on.
God is not finished with us yet.