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Friday, November 21, 2014

Big News & Big Changes For Us

Back in the spring of 1998, Doug and I signed a contract with Immanuel International to come and be their pastors for three years.
We were excited about the possibility of moving to Sweden, ministering to a multi-cultural community and dipping our toe in the European lifestyle for a few years while we were still young! But then the years started to fly by and all of the sudden, we'd been here a decade, and now 16+ years. At one point we finally decided that we were definitely staying in Stockholm, indefinitely.
And yet, I suppose in our hearts and in our minds we knew that at some point in time, another door would open and we would feel led to step through it into a new reality.
That time has come. After 16.5 years Doug and I are leaving Stockholm and Immanuel International. Tanner is going to become an American hund! So on the 28th of December we will share in our final worship service and on the 29th of January, we will board a plane, with Tanner loaded in the cargo hold, for one last hop across the pond. We plan to land in our home in Desert Hot Springs, CA and see where the winds of change will lead.
Why now? Lots of different things started aligning for us to consider that the timing might be right. Our move has absolutely nothing to do with our dear congregation. They have asked us to reconsider and stay which is lovely but of course, we did not make this decision lightly and feel that God has genuinely led us to make this move now. Of course, telling our congregation that we are indeed leaving has been one of the hardest things we've ever had to do but I've often said that every good decision usually involves a fair amount of pain. This decision is no exception to that reality and yet, while we will miss this congregation tremendously, we feel great peace in making this transition at this time.
We will take a short time of sabbatical to ponder what these years in Sweden and with the International church have meant to us. I have a deep need to continue to sort through everything that my parents' passing has meant in my life and we are both feeling that landing back in the US for a season will be good for us. I'm sure the reverse culture shock will be profound but we are also excited to see what it will be like to actually live in the United States of America once again. While there are many things we will miss, I will not miss the dark winters! Knowing that there will be many impressions and emotions with re-patriating, (a term I loathe by the way), I will continue to blog under a new blog title: Back Across the Pond. I'll keep ya posted on that.
For now, we are savoring every moment with people we love and places we enjoy. We are thrilled to have a final Advent and Christmas season with our congregation and thankful to have the month of January to pack up and sort through our home here.
Tanner has been to the vet to get his first ever rabies shot and obtain his pet passport! I am very excited to see how he adjusts to being a desert dog!
 We appreciate your prayers for us and our church as this significant event unfolds in our life. We remain humbled that God has given us the privilege of being the pastors at Immanuel International for all these years and look forward to what He has in store for us as this new season unfolds.

Soon enough we'll be back across the pond. For now, I'm savoring all that has kept us on this side of that pond for as long as it has.