30 July, 2018

Settling...and a car

Today it's four weeks since we landed in Australia. A lot has happened in that time. I wrote this Facebook status last night:
Tonight it’s a month since we left Japan. That means we’re about ⅙ of the way through our time in Australia. A bit of a shocking figure! I mentioned this at dinner and the boys were shocked too. We’ve worked hard to get as settled as we can, but still feel a bit rocky. I suspect we might not really get much past that this year.
My parents visited us last week and were surprised at how well set-up our home appears. They correctly guessed, though, that we've had experience in getting set up fast and, because we don't have much time to "fool around", we needed to set up fast. We also don't have a lot of stuff here in Australia, so it's not been that hard to organise it all. Also, most of our furniture is borrowed, we're not bothering to work hard at getting things exactly  right, or even stuff that's good quality. We're making do, and that's fine. On top of all that we had a lot of help at the start: a bunch of people moved all the furniture and boxes in before we even set foot in Queensland, without all that help (and especially the friend who coordinated all the people donating furniture), we'd be a lot further behind.

What's harder is getting emotionally settled. That's something that you can do a bit about, but in the end a lot of it is out of our control and just takes time. And because we're a family unit, one person's emotional stability struggles often affects us all. It's hard to write much about that without violating people's privacy, so I'll leave it to your imagination.

But really, I started this blog post wanting to tell you about one of the big things we have to be thankful for from the last month: this car.

No, this is not our car in Japan, it is our car to use in Australia. Very similar in looks, and, in fact, this was manufactured in Japan. A Christian couple has lent this to us for six months. We've so grateful. It's going to get quite a work-out, with some of our family living more than 800km away from our home base, as well as all the driving that our job entails (we're driving to Toowoomba for the day on Wednesday, about 200km of driving, and then back there again for the weekend on Friday).

We're in the car so much more than we are used to. That's just daily life in Australia; driving a boy to school each day, getting groceries in the car . . . actually pretty much anytime we go out, aside from a stroll around the neighbourhood, it's in the car. That's so different to our daily lives in Japan, and one of the many things that we're adjusting to.

I was grateful to have coffee with some local friends this morning. I wasn't there as the "returning missionary", I wasn't the centre of attention, I wasn't there in a work capacity. It was nice to just be accepted and welcomed. Driving home afterwards I felt just a little more grounded in the current place than I had before.

So though there are things that I'd like to be different, for us to be more settled, I am thankful, also, about so many things.

Here's a prayer I'd like to dwell on:
16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3, NIV)
To deeply know the greatness of God's love for our family at this time, that's what will help us through.

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