One thing I've been thinking through lately is community. We have quite an amazing community here in Grand Rapids. Our families are near by. The kids see most of their cousins and grandparents on a weekly basis and ask to see them if we go too long between visits.We all have friends at our church and outside of it. And we are leaving all of that behind. Not to be over dramatic, but we do realize that while we will keep in touch with all of you, our relationships will change. Skype is not quite the same as an in person coffee date while the kids play together. It will be hard, no doubt. It will make us look forward to the summer weeks we will return home to catch up with you all, and to the many, many visits you will all make, right? ;)
I've been a bit apprehensive about the new relationships we might form when we move. We do not know anyone at the school, and have heard there are not a ton of families with little children. I am grateful that we are going into a school setting and, whether we form deep friendships with people there or not, we will have that support system automatically in place. That is a huge source of comfort for me. I've had conversations with others who have been missionaries out in the middle of nowhere, who did not have that built in community, and I can see how lonely that would be. With my extroverted personality, I'm not sure I could handle that!
I've also been a bit insecure thinking about meeting all of these new people. I fear not fitting in with the women. I imagine a bunch of supermoms who are more intelligent than me, who have a better handle on the culture, language, and can navigate the market, food, and cooking better than I'll be able to. I fear not finding someone I can really be real with (besides Marc, of course). I fear not having friends who have kids to have playdates with. I'm not sure what my role will be at HOPAC, though I know I'll be doing some sort of work. I'm not sure how often and what the context will be. Will I be home all day every day and work only after Marc is home and can watch the kids? Will I have a vehicle to leave the house if I wanted to? Will it be safe for me to go out with just Hope and Geneva?
What is comes down to is that I fear being lonely.
We got an email this morning from HOPAC about the new teachers coming next year. Six knew teachers next year besides Marc, and three of those teachers are married with children! I don't know their ages, but just knowing that there are other families who are moving with either two or three children means there will be people who will be able to relate to our experience. I am already praying for the other teachers who we will be serving alongside and the community that may form.
If you're the praying type, please pray for our relationships that will change as we move and also for the new community we will be in!