Focus and Change

Kim is part of an online Bible study group, and one of the questions asked in her group was to summarize 2013 in one word and then come up with one word to describe your hopes or expectations for the coming year. What a cool idea! So I thought about it and decided that ‘focus’ is my word for 2013 and ‘change’ is my word for this year.

I chose ‘focus’ as my word to summarize 2013 because it really has been a year of focus. For a long time it seems I’ve been without focus. When you move overseas many of the lines and boundaries you’re used to get blurred. You’re thrown into a new environment and it takes a long time before you get your feet underneath you. Your focus gets blurred as your world is turned upside down. This takes a while to overcome.

Our focus has been further affected by a lack of input and direction from our leaders and supervisors. We’re pioneering a new work and very few people have been here. As a result we’ve had to become very self-motivated and self-directed. It’s been a struggle to find purpose at times.

All of this came to a head last year when we changed course a little and gave ourselves something new to focus on. We’ve started working on website projects and design work and this has given us something very tangible to set our sights on. The objectives are clearer, the day-to-day tasks are doable, and I can see real progress and work getting done. It’s been fun to learn new things and I am glad to have something more specific to focus on. So that’s my summary of 2013.

‘Change’ is definitely my word for 2014. I foresee a lot of changes coming up, the biggest being that we’re moving from Indonesia back to the United States. I can’t think of a bigger change than that! And this isn’t just one change- it’s a hundred tiny changes too, like getting used to driving on the right side of road, having water I can drink out of the tap, becoming anonymous again. . . I can’t begin to list all the million tiny ways this move will impact and change our life on a day-to-day basis.

But I think we’re ready for change. We’ve been overseas for five years and have been through the gamut of emotions, trials, hardships, awkward and confusing situations, only to come away with a deep appreciation and love for these people and way of life. It’s been hard and uncomfortable but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. But there does come a point when you need to step back, step away, and get your bearings again. That’s where we’re at. And so I look forward to many new changes in the coming year. Change is not always easy, but at least it will be a return to something more familiar, closer to family, and in a more comfortable environment.

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