So, I have been back in the USA for two weeks. Look at the gorgeous flower that welcomed me at I started the transition back to US culture visiting with my sister, her family, and Mom; then I took off for North Dakota to share the news of my work and the CAR with supporters.
This is my second (and final) home assignment for this work. I find myself comparing my trip with the last time (in 2014) and with experiences/places in CAR/Cameroon. I am sure that is natural.
People are welcoming and hospitable (in all places I have been). I am particularly grateful to Pr. Paul Schaur who as been the epitome of generosity. I am currently staying in his house in Wilton, ND even though he has gone to Seattle with the youth group for 10 days. He also lent me his car – as he did two years ago. Between the time he offered it this year and my arrival, though, he got a brand new Chevy Malibu in a very attractive barbecue red color – and he lent it to me anyway!
Pr. Paul’s daily walks (and his dog Sansa, some of the time) have inspired me to go back to regular walks. I like going in the morning, but evenings work too since it stays light until close to 10 p.m. There are things that remind me of CAR. On many roads there are few cars (in both Here’s one road I shared only with the birds… There are grasses that seem similar to me – although some in CAR get much taller than those I have seen here. Some roads are unpaved. The major difference there is that ND “dirt” roads are graded and covered with gravel. They are in great shape. In CAR there is little to no grading and multiple long rainy seasons cause many more pot holes, ruts, and much more difficult maneuvering. Still, sun rises (and settings) are inspiring in both places. This picture of a ND dirt road was taken about 7 a.m.
ND and CAR).
As last time, I attended synod assembly. (Well, in 2014 I was in WND’s assembly and this year I attended the one in WND and EaND.) Lots of people have been interested in learning about EELRCA’s work and my life there.
I even saw a couple of friends I knew from Cameroon, June and Phil Nelson.
Last time, I stayed in the southern part of the state (along Route I-94) in Bismarck, Valley City, and the Fargo area. This year I visited these same cities, but have also gotten to the northeast area and am now visiting more of western ND. I have been to three Lutheran summer camps, too. I even have a couple of days to go to Jakelle Cornell’s mother Jane is hosting me.
How am I adjusting? I am. It is not always easy to be visiting so many places in a short time, but it isn’t particularly hard to be back in US culture (after all, I have lived the majority of my life here). I think often of my work and friends in CAR. I would be anyway, but they are in the forefront of my mind since I am talking about my work and experiences there. I miss the people I worked with. I expect that will increase after my home assignment visits because I have done this before and then gone back to CAR/Cameroon. This time I will return to Pennsylvania and find a new mission. (No, I have no idea yet what that will be.)
Transitions take time. But sharing the work of EELRCA and my life with these dedicated people helps.