06 July, 2010

Another unusual reunion

Here is the story of three couples and their kids. Back in the late 90s all six of us were childless couples, living in Brisbane, attending vastly different churches but applying to be long-term missionaries with OMF International. In January 99 we all attended an OMF Candidates Course in Brisbane (one of the children was a babe-in-arms at that course and I was pregnant). At that course we were all accepted to join OMF. From there we all went on the deputation trail. OMF required we have 100% of our support before we left. The Callows (Jeff and Belinda) and the Himstedts (Daron and Janet) were headed for Thailand and we for Japan, so the amount we needed was vastly different.

Over the next 15 months we did a number of mission related events together. The most extravagant was an imitation aeroplane trip to promote mission. It was huge! So was I...at 38 weeks pregnant!

In March of 2000 the Himstedts left for Thailand and in the middle of the year the Callows took off. That left us. I cried. We didn't know at that point if we'd ever get where we felt God had called us to. We eventually left in November of that year, but were undersupported for most of our term. Actually in retrospect we should have left it until after the northern winter, but that is another story altogether.

The wacky part of this story relates to both our ages and our kid's years-of-birth. For at this time of the year the adults' ages step up one year at a time. Couple by couple. So the Marshalls are the youngest, then the Callows, then the Himstedts. Our kids were all born in consecutive calendar years - every year from 1998 for nine years. Four of the nine were born overseas. And the families took it in turn too. Callows, Marshalls, Himstedts, Callows, Marshalls...you get the picture. We all have three children. The Callows and Marshalls have boys and the Himstedts have girls. Weird, hey?

So, all of us have now served for about 10 years overseas. We've all had our trials and challenges. We've walked in different places (we haven't been to Thailand and they haven't been to Japan, for example), but have so many things in common. The one thing we have not managed to do is live in Brisbane all at the same time. Both the Callows and Himstedts have only just last week come back from Thailand and we've about to leave again. This is the first time since 2000 that we've all been in the same city at the same time.

So much to talk about this morning, it was a pity when the time came to an end. We've all prayed for one another over this last decade and we're all Facebook friends, so we know an awful lot about each other's journey - both from what we read and what we've ourselves experienced. Now we have another memory to add to our collection, plus photos!


Bec said...

This gives me goosebumps. The way things work out! I worked out a couple of years ago that my parents' grandkids would be 7,6,5,4,3,2,1 at one stage of the year. That is from 3 families but all my siblings 'ruined' the pattern this last year. Now 8,7,6,5,4,3,1,0and 0. And all born in 3 different countries. We are not missionaries, any of us, but we are Christians in countries other than our "passport country". I will pray for you this weekend as you return to... home?

Wendy said...

Thanks for your prayers Bec. "Home" actually doesn't work very well as a descriptive for us any more. It is a bit like when I was living away from my parents to go to Uni. "Home" was both with them and at the place I lived while studying. Pity Japan and Australia aren't as close!

Wendy said...
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