Why I’m thankful today

350 days ago, at 2 AM, I was sitting in Nairobi, Kenya, airport.  I had been there 10 hours.  My wife and children slept on the chairs around me.  I couldn’t sleep.  I was worried.

We were en route to the US after three and a half years in South Africa.  We had no plans to go back overseas after our years abroad, which also include Nicaragua and China.  There was a temporary home awaiting us, but every other building block of daily existence was up in the air.  No job.  No plans.  No permanent church community.  No idea where we’d live after six months.  Phoebe (7) was heading off to school for the first time, and Zeke (5) to follow in the fall.  No car.  (OK, we did have a 15 year-old car with 200,000 miles on it, thanks to my folks.)

Looking back over the past year, then, I see Providence weaving together a life worth living, a thriving existence.  While I’ve spent more than my share of time pacing in the wee hours, God has worked to fill in all the blanks of life:

  • Chrissy’s book, Into the Mud, was released, and we traveled and spoke to groups about stories of our inspiring friends in South Africa.
  • I got a job with InterVarsity, working on communications.  I’ve commented to Chrissy that it’s hard to imagine any job in the Midwest being a better match.  I use my skills in writing, photography, strategy, and humor to do something I believe in—sharing good news about Jesus with college students and constructively engaging our culture.
  • Fantastic coworkers.
  • Phoebe and Zeke are in school and doing well.
  • We’re all healthy.
  • We found a small but suitable apartment in a great neighborhood.  (And we’ve just gotten preapproval for a mortgage—no small feat after years living in no-credit-history areas—so we’re shopping for a house!)
  • Making new friends in our neighborhood is a joy, and Madison is a hoot.
  • Chrissy won a big award from the UW.
  • We’ve gotten involved with a new church called The Vine that has great vision and people.

And so I thank God, our family, and all the good people who’ve welcomed us back to the U.S.  Thanks!

  • http://www.fkduran.blogspot.com Kristina Duran

    Thanks for this post. First, sweet airport in Nairobi. Love the chairs. At least you can lay down and sleep! Unlike our airports with arms on EVERY chair! Second, Providence is the great provider and what a testimony you have shared. 8 years ago we were celebrating our first Thanksgiving in the States on dishes we received for our wedding over one year earlier. It was the FIRST time we were using those dishes. God had re-routed our plans (like you and Chrissy we did not envision living stateside ever) and we were in the States, out of work and yet we were able to also rejoice and be thankful for His goodness.
    Thanks for sharing and have a blessed Thanksgiving! Greet your doll of a wife for me, please!

  • acjeske

    Thanks for checking in, Kristina. It’d be great to hear more about how you were rerouted. Do you guys ever get to Madison?

  • Donné Queripel

    SO good to hear how the Lord has looked after you guys. Just read your December newsletter and I can almost feel the vibrations of your excitement and all God has been doing. I often think of you when I go to the farmers market…When I dash out to Pick n Pay and wonder how you managed just shopping at the farmers’ market and had no car for so long. You guys are a good example to me of not grumbling. Pierre took note of a quotable Adamism from your December news – the challenge to have high standards of behaviour, performance and fun. We look forward to more updates. Please send lots of love to Chrissy, Phoebe and Zeke.