What goes through the mind of a missionary as she and her husband prepare to transition from life in Kenya to life in Southern California? In this beautifully reflective post, SSMF’s Kelli Compean shares what’s been on her mind as their date of departure nudges closer and closer.
It is funny to me, the cliche analogies which come to my mind–and to my voice, over our leaving Kenya and moving to California.
From the first, I felt strongly that the Lord gave me a vision of a well established plant.
Ed and I were a mature palm tree, producing fruit, providing shelter and harboring off-shoots.
The Lord needed to dig us up, much like any aging plant with pups, and move us elsewhere in His garden to allow the pups beneath us to grow up from the fragments of the roots left behind.
As He has been digging us up these recent months, we sit upon His shovel waiting for the prepared place He has for us in California.
The soil which had harbored us is being shaken loose from our roots, but some of that dirt will cling no matter how hard He shakes.
It is a part of us–taken into the fibers of who we are.
We want to keep what we can of it.
To that end, we have been blessed by a season of seeing some of the pups from our roots.
We were gifted by a friend’s church to go back to Turkana and revisit some of the people I have nursed with my hands, and over long distance phone lines.
I was blessed to hold Kelli number three and Ed was warmly welcomed into my Turkana family.
Some of the people warmly remembered us as Mama and Baba Jackson from our son Jackson’s stay with them three years ago.
Recently we visited the sites of our two baby grand daughter churches in Meguara, in the Trans-Mara area of Kenya, and in Kebabe Village near Kisii.
We spent Easter with our daughter, CC Lakeside in Kisumu and were blessed to share in their five-year anniversary service as well as the goodbye to our dear friends, co-laborers, and fellow missionaries, the Pottenger family.
Still ahead of us is:
–The annual Calvary Chapel missionary ingathering in Kenya.
–A last assignment for Calvary Magazine in Uganda.
–Teaching one more session of my health class at CC Kibera.
-Sending pastor Jackson Keringot to Tanzania.
–And hosting three groups of visitors.
In the midst of all of this tasting of sweet fruit, we are being broken loose from the soil that holds us.
Most of our belongings are sold or spoken for and we are feeling less at home, more restless and unsettled.
We have begun the process of good-byes which are so important in leaving well.
On the other side of the world, we trust God is beginning to dig a hole for us in Escondido.
We are making arrangements for missionary debriefing, which I liken to feeding a transplant with B vitamins to prevent shock.
We have looked up apartments and cars, and are dealing with sticker shock as well as looking for grad-schools and part time jobs.
It is easy to become overwhelmed with the thought of all that is ahead and all we will be leaving behind.
I remind myself regularly to not be Lot’s wife and cling to what I know out of fear of the unknown.
Having been transplanted before, I know the pain involved.
I also know the God who has gone ahead to prepare a place for me.
I know the God of all comfort.
I know the One who has plans not to harm me.
So, as we prepare to leave our home, as we submit to the sorrow of goodbye, as we share meals with loved ones not knowing if we will ever see them again this side of heaven, we trust in the God who makes all things beautiful in His time.
He has set eternity in our hearts and we will share eternity with these dear Kenyans.
While we cannot fathom what God is doing, we know that His ways are best.
We look forward to resting in the hole He is preparing and hope to grow new roots and have some pups and off shoots after a brief time of recovery.
Please keep praying for us.
NOTE: Kelli’s husband, Pastor Ed, will join the U.S. based staff of Shepherd’s Staff Mission Facilitators. They will be living in Escondido, CA, and Ed will serve alongside Pastor Jeff Jackson as the ministry continues to grow.