We now have only about 2.5 months left until we leave the US. It feels like we just went through the process of saying our goodbyes, even though it was already nearly a year ago when we left our home and community in Michigan. Well, I will soon be returning to Michigan for a locums work assignment. Whenever I am traveling for work, it is always a challenge for our family, especially for Eunice as she looks after the boys in my absence, but the upside is that it will likely be the last time I will have to work before we leave the country. I can then use the last several weeks to focus on studying French, saying goodbye to friends and supporters, and packing our belongings.
Realizing that our time remaining in the US is soon coming to an end has made me reflect on this past year, which has had its challenges and blessings. Here are the top 3 in each category, in no particular order:
1. The uncertainty of not having a stable income – Being a locums health care provider has some parallels to being a substitute teacher. How so? When a hospital needs help for a short-term gap in coverage, they contract with a company to help them find a provider to cover, usually weeks to months in advance. Thus, by nature, the locums world tends to afford more flexibility but at the cost of not always knowing when and if I’ll be working.
2. Being away from home when traveling alone – Though I don’t travel nearly as much as business people who have platinum airline and hotel memberships, I have been in airplanes and spent more nights in hotel rooms in the past year than the sum of all my years past.
3. Parenting – There has been much growth in this area for me, but I know I have much to learn yet. I used to think I was somewhat patient, but that was before having children, and I recognize how much patience I am lacking each day. I’ve been reading books on parenting as well, which have provided some insight.
1. Having more time with Eunice, Toby, and Amos – When I’m not working or studying French, I am with Eunice and usually watching Toby or Amos. Eunice and I sometimes joked in the beginning that we spent more time together during the first month in California than we did all of residency. It has been a joy to be more present and to see both Toby and Amos growing up in front of me.
2. Seeing parents often – Living in southern California has allowed more frequent visits with both Eunice’s and my parents, who are both within driving distance of our current residence. It has been a nice change since having lived in other states for many years. Toby loves “halmi” and “halbi” on both sides, especially since they all dote on him so much.
3. Experiencing God’s faithfulness – Time and time again, God has been faithful to me, and this has been so evident in his consistent provision for our family. Our current housing arrangement, my locums job opportunities, my board exams, Toby’s preschool, our church community, and a strong supporter base are just some of the many things for which we have seen God present and at work. More recently, the container carrying the totes we packed in February arrived in Burundi at Kibuye Hope Hospital this past week. Our hearts are full of thanks!
|Toby and me video chatting while I was away.|
|The boys trying to Duo w/ dad!|