Monday, June 29, 2009

Where Is Home?


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People often ask us, “Where is home for you?” The question catches us off-guard every time we hear it because we don’t know which home they are asking about. Most often the response they are looking for is “America” or, more specifically, the state from which we come.
Even that question is difficult for us to answer without going into detail because our legal US address is Texas, our children and grandchildren live in Indiana and Missouri, and we own a house in Georgia that we have not lived in yet. Other times they just want to know our address in Skopje.
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Pictures of Kruja, Albania


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For the past 15 years (as of June 2009) that we have worked with CBF, we have made our home in Tirana & Kruja, Albania and in Gostivar & Skopje, Macedonia. All of these places became “home” to us very quickly. Perhaps we have had so many homes because, for us, “home” is more a state of being in relationships than it is a place or a location.
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Old Market Area in Kruja


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Our Apartment in Skopje (with the green awning)

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Jim Smith, Associate Coordinator for Missions with CBF, made a comment some time ago about our having lived in so many places (48 to be precise). His words reminded us that whereas we have had so many homes, there are people to whom we minister who have not had a “home” – in the sense that “home” means security, safety, and hope. But because of your generous support of the “Future of the Family” kindergarten and its ministries, there are many families who have found a sense of “home”.
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Afternoon Kindergarten Class with Habibe on Picture Day
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June 2009 completed the 5th year of this ministry, and the lives of 200 children and their families have been affected in the most positive ways possible. These families have the assurance of a good educational beginning for their children, the security that their children are receiving nutritious food each day (something that many of the families could not provide themselves at the moment), and the safety of an environment that enables their children to develop and learn in an atmosphere of love.
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The “Future of the Family” kindergarten has additional ministries that reach out to these families in times of grief, illness, rejoicing, and need. Since Albanian and Roma children attend the school, the majority of our families are Muslim. So in essence, we are offering pastoral care to a Muslim community, being the presence of Christ to these families. Because of the kindergarten ministry, we are able to visit in homes that otherwise would be difficult to gain access.

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So where is home? We sometimes answer: “America” or “Indiana, Georgia, or Texas” if asked which state. But also home is with Ismire -- rejoicing over their new baby boy, with Razmire -- comforting her dying father, with Endrit -- delivering firewood for winter heating, and with Elmira -- visiting before the wedding of her oldest daughter.
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Home is sharing a cup of tea with a mother who just wanted to thank us in person for the school and all the wonderful people in America who have made her life and her child’s life so much better.


A cup of tea anyone?

Shelia

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