I have been in limbo now since November 2019. Liz, the boys, and I all came to the US in November for the holidays and then I stayed for itineration, that time when I travel around talking to churches, groups, and individuals about the ministry and work in Tanzania. My last two weeks of itineration is when shelter at home orders starting coming out for many states in the southeastern United States. I spent the last two weeks doing virtual events, having lots of phone conversations, and not going anywhere. This is also the time when Liz and the boys, who had gone back to Tanzania for school in January came back to the US. Not too long after this Tanzania shut down schools, large gatherings, sporting events and international travel.
So I have not been home in six months.
During this time of not being able to get back to Tanzania, of not being able to provide the in-person leadership I am accustomed to, of not being able to have more than virtual relationships with staff, students, pastors, and other ministry leaders I almost start to feel like sporting events, schools, and travel are not the only things that are cancelled.
Am I cancelled?
Do I still have a purpose? Am I still important to the community in my life…friends, colleagues, churches, and students? Are my relationships still important and my role in them?
I have struggled most of all during this time with that void…not of a lack of leaders in my life, but of feeling like I am leaving a void in the lives of others who I have a connection with.
However, as a missionary whose main focus over the last ten years has been the empowerment and equipping of others, the planting of seeds for an eventual, eternal harvest, this is also a time of watching the fruit of the work. So while I am struggling with the idea that I have not been in Tanzania for almost six months and struggling, as many are, to feel connected during this time, I am also happy to see the ways in which the seeds are sprouting and the work is continuing. Praise be to God!!