As I write Bailey is sitting next to me putting clothes in a basket from our last load of laundry during this period of living in Montreal. Things have wrapped up so quickly here. It is hard to believe that we have lived here for more than five months and even harder to believe all that we have learned during the course of our stay.
We both expected to face challenges, begin learning French, get to know friends in and out of the community called The Living Room, adjust to different weather, money, stores, streets, rhythms, cultural intricacies, and responsibilities. We experienced all of these things, but the surprises stand out far more than the expected changes.
Most of our best friends proved to be people we did not know well before coming; each of them was truly a unique gift and inspiration to us. We discovered how hard it is to begin life in a new place and learned to have deeper compassion for families who immigrate to foreign lands. We found relational skills and spiritual gifts that God has placed deep inside of us and feel much more self aware which enables each of us to love our neighbors more authentically.
At the moment we are still processing many of the lessons from the first half of this year; which leads us to our next step. This time in Montreal is coming to a close. I feel sad to say “See you later” to so many dear friends tonight. At the same time, I sense that there is more adventure and purpose lying just ahead on the path before me.
Bailey and I are leaving in one week to visit her cousin in Rome and see a city we have dreamed of traveling to since we were in college. After our stay in Rome we will fly to Kenya to spend time with our friends in Nakuru. While we are there we will volunteer in the Springs of Hope Kenya orphanage, visit the Bagamoyo training center, and spend long anticipated time with friends. Bailey and I have both had our perspectives about mission, materialism, ethnicity, cultural beauty, family, and the pace of life drastically impacted by our previous trips to Nakuru. Sometimes I think one can so deeply resonate with an effort to bring some healing in this broken world that it reshapes one’s view of ministry. That is true of the work to build family and sustainable opportunity through Springs of Hope for both of us. We are eagerly awaiting our third visit.
Then, on the way back to Florida we will have five days in London; an accident of the most pleasant type that came about after two weeks of searching for the cheapest airfare to get home. If you know us well, you know that Bailey and I are kind of nerds when it comes to most things stereotypically British. We even slip into speaking in our not-so-great English accents on a daily basis. That last bit of our travels comes as a lovely bonus.
When I write here I often try to focus on a story that encapsulates lessons we are learning or developments that are worth sharing in the hope that you may be intrigued enough to risk, love, and pursue getting to know Jesus. Tonight I want to tell you that your story is worth living.
I want to tell you that adventure awaits all of us; not because of the typical things that our society labels as adventure like travelling abroad, extreme sports, eating crazy food, or seeking thrills. Adventure awaits when we say “yes” to God. God is good. God is not always safe, but God is good.
Choosing to live in accordance with the way of Jesus at times means risking security, popularity, approval, comfort, laziness, etc. When we say “yes” life becomes vibrant though. I have felt the breath of God on my life again these last few weeks as I have more actively sought out ways to serve others and it is like nothing else in the world.
Some of you may have never decided that following Jesus is something you would like to do. Perhaps you have not experienced faith in God at this point. I want to say to you that Jesus is worth discovering. The life that comes from trusting that God has made you, knows what you need, and is calling you into the family of God even though you have chosen to live outside of that family is the most beautiful gift I have ever received. It is never too late to start seeking Jesus.
I do not know what will happen when we return to Florida. I do know that I have learned more than ever that God is good. That is enough for me to believe that Bailey and I are in the right place as long as we are seeking the heart of God.
If you would like to pray for us here are a few things to talk to God about on our behalf:
Pray that as we travel we would further understand the lessons from our time in Montreal and apply those lessons.
Pray that we would find meaningful work that is good for others, enjoyable and provides for our family.
Pray that we would listen to God as God speaks and say “yes”.
Pray that the dreams we have for family and ministry would come to fruition.
Thank you for your support. God is for you. The adventure is only beginning for all of us.
Kyle and Bailey