Each year when I return to Asheville, it’s a bit like moving—on a small scale, of course. I have moved thirteen times in my life. That doesn’t including cross-town moves, which I’ve done seven times. It also doesn’t include the three times that I’ve lived in temporary housing during the moving process. Most of those moves were long-distance, including three across the Atlantic. Until 2010, I had made a major move every five years on average, and never lived more than seven years in the same town my whole life.
What changed in 2010 was moving back to Milan after a three year absence. That was my first year as a missionary. I had been doing the same work on a small scale for many years—I just hadn’t known that it was ministry. Moving back to Milan was the first time that I had ever moved back to a town I had lived in before. It was also the first time that I had passed that seven year mark.
Since 2010 I make a trip to the US each year to visit family for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I stay for a few months so that I will also have time to visit our corporate headquarters and my home church, both of which are in Texas. I may also go to missions conferences while in the US, depending largely upon the timing.
Before leaving for a few months there’s a bit of planning that must be done: what to take, what to leave (as with many moves), who’s going to watch the house, and when you find that right person, leaving instructions and rent checks with them. Then I drag a suitcase stuffed full through at least three airports. And finally, I drive four hours (after a good night’s sleep at my son’s house). So it’s also a bit like an airport version of a marathon: The Ironwoman Traveling Missionary Triathlon.
Happily, I have the Lord to help me—after all, I always say that my apartment is really God’s house that He has so graciously allowed me to live in. Every year, He has brought the right person into my life at just the right time. And the right timing is not only for me, but also for the other person. I love how God’s way always benefits both parties, one way and another.
So, I’ve made this year’s move back to Asheville, and I’m looking forward to good things. I have good friends here, good neighbors, a church I love, and best of all: family. God is good!