Who am I?

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Monrovia, Liberia
I live in Monrovia, Liberia, West Africa with my wife and youngest son. We are recently arrived in Liberia where we are serving as missionaries with Evangelical Church Missions working under the Liberia Evangelical Mission. For most of the last thirty years we have served under ECM in Bolivia, South America. We are the happy parents of four children and the proud grandparents of two grandchildren.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Farewelled Out (of the country, that is)

One week ago today we left Bolivia to return to the United States while awaiting for our assignment to Liberia to begin. We were literally farewelled out of the country as our last couple of weeks in Bolivia were filled with goodbyes and mixed emotions. The Santa Cruz district of the Bolivian Evangelical Holiness Church held a very nice farewell for us on Friday evening before our departure. As I listened to the brothers and sisters share their kind words to us my mind was filled with memories.

The keyboard player that night, for instance, was a young man who will soon be graduating from university with a degree in music.

I was remembering how, as a boy, he had a keyboard at church and would play for the services, as often as not, hitting the wrong notes and being in a different key from everyone else. Now he is a very accomplished keyboardist with a good singing voice and a passion to serve the Lord. Where does the time go?

And then there was the district center where the farewell was held. When we first came to Santa Cruz there was not even a thought about a district headquarters. Eventually the idea cropped up but it was only an idea. Then the district was able to purchase a lot with a tree in the center of the lot using a donation from the States to finance the purchase. The lot and tree sat there for a long time, (maybe several years, in fact) overgrown and unkept. But now there is a nice facility that serves as home to district functions, Saint Paul Seminary and the New Hope Tutoring Center.

The music at the farewell was apparently picked with the grumpy old missionary's tastes in mind because it was neither loud nor oppressive.

Following the music we were presented with a number of gifts and "recuerdos"in order to take a little bit of Bolivia with us.

After the formal farewells and abrazos (Bolivian handshake and hug)

was a really delicious plate of sajj'ta de pollo (spicy chicken with chuño)

and a pretty cake.

Two days later we were honored by another farewell, this time by our friends from the missionary community.

Bryan and Molly Canny planned and hosted the event, complete with a large spread of food. It too was a nice afternoon of sharing one more time with the people who we have worked and played with over the years.

The most difficult farewell came at the airport when we said goodbye to our coworkers. We have been blest with really great partners in mission through the years and leaving them behind is the hardest part of our going to a different field of service.

So here we are, now living in "the in-between." We are very thankful to God for all his faithfulness to us during our years in Bolivia and look forward to what he will be doing both now and later as we arrive to begin our new assignment in Liberia.