We lost a small part of our home this week.
When we were preparing to move to Kenya, this verse was a frequent refrain: “Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.”” Gen 12:1-2
We rejoiced that the Lord had used us to be a blessing for His Kingdom in Lexington. And it was a comfort to know that the same God who provided for newly homeless Abraham millennia ago was with us as we too left our “country and kindred.”
But despite this, it hurt to leave. To enter a land with no seasons, with no air conditioning, with no public libraries. To raise a toddler in a land without cheerios or goldfish crackers.
To learn to function with frequent power outages and intermittent internet. To work at a hospital without MRI, without IV pumps, without a room for every patient (or even for every dozen patients).
We expected this. We expected to encounter new things. We expected that life would look different here.
But we did not expect that we would be asked to continue to give up “home” even after leaving the US.
This week we said goodbye to our neighbors. The Nugents are a family of seven who lived downstairs from us. During our transition here, they have been teachers and encouragers. And they’ve become part of our home here.
This is my first memory of Jess Nugent:
Our first week here laundry was an issue. As Hannah’s mound of soggy diapers grew I began to experience a degree of trepidation only a mother who has used the last diaper can appreciate. One night, Clark mentioned that, while taking out the trash, he’d ran into our neighbor Jess Nugent who offered to do our (at this point slightly fermented) laundry. This is what a servant looks like!
But, a little curious, I asked Clark, “Why is Jess wandering around at 10:30 at night?”
Clark: “Oh, she’s just walking around because she’s in labor.”
Me: “What?!? Do not let that laboring woman do our diaper laundry!”
These were our neighbors. Helpers. Servants. Friends. And things have felt empty and quiet since they’ve left. It’s hard.
But the Lord is teaching me. If I quit my job, if I leave Lexington, if I leave my family, if I leave my friends–and even if they leave me—my identity stands.
“You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9
Regardless of what you’re facing today, remember who you are in God. And since we are able, let us declare His praises!
The Lord has blessed us with many other great neighbors! Hannah is clearly comfortable with our friend Deborah Schule (her family came here from Germany) and with Joyce and her family.
[*Photos used with permission from Jess and Dylan Nugent]