How fitting it is to say goodbye from this ancient place. The very first words that I wrote for others to read were after a day spent here six years ago. It gripped my heart fiercely then, and has never let go.
Go fiercely in the direction of your dreams, words penned by Henry David Thoreau, and echoes of truth from God. We dream because we are created by an imaginative God. The One who made the colors of the earth and carved adventure into our hearts.
With the memory of our arrival still fresh from a mere three years ago, we transgress this departure with eyes that now see deeper, farther, and sharper. I stare with wonder at the vastness of it all.
The fruits of our yard are ripening. We've watched with anticipation for the coffee tree and the banana tree to yield a harvest, and the beans and young bananas shine radiantly in the sunlight. What has been planted, nurtured, and cultivated is now coming to fruition.
Journey Church Guatemala has become a place reflective of the imagination of God. A team of leaders stand, shoulder to shoulder, embraced with the singular identity of sons and daughters of God, a gathering brought together with the purpose of connecting people to Christ and the Church.
Kellie and I walk away with a bittersweet mixture of tears for the beauty we're leaving behind, a thrill to know that God has prepared them to continue to walk faithfully, and a confidence that even better days are to come. We leave this place, tightly embracing those whom God has allowed us to walk beside for a time, and embracing in our hearts for all eternity.
Even though the goodbye is difficult, we are heartened to see that God has made the way straight. A new Principal is in place with the school. A new Pastor has been raised up for the church with a group of leaders who now carry the banner with him. A new family is coming to the mission, and our belongings that we leave behind are going to bless others.
And so it is not so hard to step into the unknown as we travel to Ohio to wait on the direction of God. We are humbled to know that we walk away during a time of blessing. We are thankful to know that we leave it better than we found it. We embrace this time of walking by faith. Our God is with us. His timing is perfect. We give Him our faith.
This final week we are blessed to walk with our friends from Bear Valley Church in Colorado. I get to spend this week with Jason Lee, a man who has become a dear friend. We leave this country as we first encountered it... through the experience of a one week mission trip. We once were the visitors, and now we exit as those with a little experience.
It is a great joy to spend our final days in service, building a family a home, exactly how we first came. God is good.
August first will find Kellie and the girls boarding a jet to the US where they'll reunite with our son, Caleb, and stay with Kellie's parents. I'll be on the road with my uncle Stephen as we begin a 3,000 mile, 52 hour road trip into the northern highlands of Guatemala, through Mexico, and then across the southern states as we make our way to Ohio.
From there, our family will wait on the Lord. We will be obedient to His call, whether it is a congregation in Ohio, or a distant place such as South Carolina or Colorado. We're at peace. God is with us.
Yes, we go confidently in the direction of our dreams. God is the God of imagination. He spoke the universe into being. He created us in His image. We can dream because His dream lives within us. And so we walk with boldness. He has already made the way before us. We step out into the unknown to meet Him.
We end this chapter where we began, we simply read the words with greater care, and with a deeper understanding. God has used this place and these days to refine us, to shape us, to chisel away hard edges, to discipline us, and to love us.
We give Him praise for the days to come as we boldly step out in confidence... in the direction of our dreams.