“Home is home,” a short but sweet, ironic phrase coming out of the mouth of a US Immigration official processing our visa documents as we entered the US coming “home” from the Europe / Middle East / North Africa (EMENA) conference last week. We had to go through a secondary immigration process with our religious visa and he was graciously answering some questions about our pending move back “home” to Canada this coming summer.
I have been in this place several times over the past 21 years – Canada to Costa Rica to Venezuela (1995) to Canada (1996) to Venezuela (1998) to Canada (2003) to Venezuela (2005) to Argentina (2006) to Canada (2012) to the US (2013) and now back to Canada (2016). We have created “home” in each of these places and moved “home” on to the next place. It has not been an easy life but it has been a fulfilling one, relying on God’s strength every day.
“Blessed are those whose strength is in You, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.” Psalm 84:5
We used this verse in a seminar at the EMENA conference in the last couple weeks. It was a special time talking about the first fruits of our lives – our families, including the youth we have been entrusted with in our ministries.
“Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deuteronomy 6:4-7
We are all on a pilgrimage together. As we sit at home and as we walk along the road we are to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, and strength, impressing this on our children and the youth we work with.
Some of you have moved several times within your own borders and many have travelled to conferences and General Assemblies over the years where we celebrate the indigenousness and local expertise of our staff. There are, however, a few members of the YFC family that move from country to country and deal with the complexities that cross-cultural life brings their way. The logistics of living as an expat have not negated “home” for us but have just made “home” more mobile, perhaps to identify with foreigners as Jesus Himself was when He came to earth.
All the challenges that come with being an expat pale in comparison to the trials reflected in the mobility happening around the world we have witnessed these past few years. As refugees traverse from near and far with nothing more than the few belongings they can carry, and the family members that travel with them, they, too, desire a place to call “home.” May we welcome them and show hospitality that stems from an overflow of the love God has shown us.
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14
So off I go to the airport to pick up my father. He will help me pack up our things once again over this next week to be driven to Canada mid-July, stored for August and September, and unveiled once again in October in our home in Victoria, BC, for the next season of our lives. May we press on, bringing others along with us on our way until we truly arrive where this pilgrimage takes us. . .home.
“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Philippians 3:20
Prayer Request: At the front end of our trip to Europe we stopped in Paris to visit YFC family – staying with the new ND of France and his family, Patrick & Magali Nussbaumer, and then on to Aspach-le-Haut to spend some time with the Weiler family. Just this week we have heard that Patrick’s mom (Elsbeth Weiler’s sister) has completed her pilgrimage to arrive “home” in heaven. Please pray for the Nussbaumer and Weiler families as they grieve together this week.
Marilyn is wife to Geordon (YFC International President), and mom to four – Jordan (who will marry Rachel Bell August 13), Joshua, Jolyn, and Joy. It is Marilyn’s great privilege to serve you in her newly adjusted role as Global Connector with YFC Canada.
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